The Washington Post’s Dana Milbank was not impressed with Senator Biden’s performance yesterday:
The hearing proceed[ed] rather calmly and respectfully — until Biden had his turn. The senator sought to extend — and, indeed, torture — Roberts’s baseball metaphor from Monday. “The founders never set a strike zone,” Biden reported, and Roberts smiled politely. Biden spent nearly nine of his 30 minutes of question time delivering an opening statement, then said: “Let me get right to it.”
Biden, skipping the stare decisis, asked Roberts directly about abortion.
“That is in an area where I think I should not respond,” Roberts said.
“Why?” Biden demanded. When Roberts tried to explain himself, Biden interjected “that is not true” and, shaking his head sadly, said, “aw, judge, judge.”
Specter tried to referee. “Wait a minute, Senator Biden,” the chairman said. “He’s not finished his answer.”
“He’s filibustering, senator,” Biden responded.
To Roberts, Biden said: “Go ahead. Go ahead and continue not to answer.”
Biden was caustic and personal. Discussing an old Roberts memo on gender discrimination, the senator accused Roberts of “very poor staff work” and said: “I hope you don’t still hold that view, man.”
Roberts got his revenge when Biden quizzed him about gender discrimination. Biden cut the judge off repeatedly, saying “my time’s running out.”
While Biden fired off a series of questions without allowing Roberts to answer, the nominee finally replied: “Well, I was about to lay it out. You said you didn’t want to hear about it.” The room filled with laughter. Biden did not smile.