The cat-and-mouse game

Michael Kinsley argues that, with both liberals and conservatives wanting to know more about where Harriet Miers stands, this is an opportune time to revoke the “Ginsburg rule” and require judicial nominees to discuss their views of specific issues, including ones that might come before the Court. I agree with Kinsley that the current level of reticence displayed by nominees goes beyond what ethical considerations reasonably require, and is an impediment to the ability of the Senate to perform its advice and consent role. However, this level of reticence won’t change (and probably shouldn’t) until Senators are once again willing to (a) cut nominees with whom they have ideological disagreements some slack and (b) eschew the filibuster even in cases of severe ideological disagreement. As long as a minority of Senators can block a nominee, and are willing to do so for purely ideological reasons, the current cat-and-mouse game will prevail.

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