Partisan scrutiny

PARTISAN SCRUTINY…. Karl Rove thinks Democratic senators are much meaner than Republican senators when it come to Supreme Court nominees.

Republicans … generally do not treat Supreme Court nominees as roughly as do Democrats. Consider their treatment of President Bill Clinton’s picks for the high court. Ruth Bader Ginsberg [sic] was confirmed by a 96-3 vote in 1993. The following year, Stephen Breyer was confirmed by a vote of 87-9. There were no fireworks at either hearing and nothing close to what Democrats did to Robert Bork and Clarence Thomas.

That’s one way of looking at it. The other way is to realize that Ginsburg and Breyer were consensus choices that Orrin Hatch had endorsed before Clinton even nominated them, while Bork was a radical ideologue that even many Republicans were uncomfortable with, and Clarence Thomas was a right-wing jurist who apparently sexually harassed Anita Hill.

Other than the overwhelming differences, though, Rove’s comparison is the kind of sharp insight we’ve come to expect from the Wall Street Journal columnist.

Support Nonprofit Journalism

If you enjoyed this article, consider making a donation to help us produce more like it. The Washington Monthly was founded in 1969 to tell the stories of how government really works—and how to make it work better. Fifty years later, the need for incisive analysis and new, progressive policy ideas is clearer than ever. As a nonprofit, we rely on support from readers like you.

Yes, I’ll make a donation

Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.