The rest of the story

The Washington Post’s editors have taken the position that, unless the latest of round of hearings on Brett Kavanaugh produce something new (it didn’t), he should be confirmed. However, the Post urges that the Senate reject Judge Terrence Boyle, the longtime nominee to the Fourth Circuit.

The Post relies, in part, on concerns that Judge Boyle has ruled in cases where he owned stock in one of the parties. I haven’t studied the matter and so take no position on it at this time.

However, the Post’s discussion of Judge Boyle is misleading in at least one respect. The paper states that “[Boyle’s] nomination to the Fourth Circuit was a particular goal of former senator Jesse Helms (R), who blocked a string of President Bill Clinton’s nominees to the court to keep the seat open for his man.” What the Post declines to tell its readers is that Boyle had been nominated by the first President Bush, but blocked by the Senate Democrats. So, yes, former Senator Helms blocked subsequent nominees for that slot, but only in retaliation for the actions of Senate Democrats. Moreover, it’s my understanding that Helms retaliated not just because the Democrats blocked Boyle but because he believed Senator Biden had promised not to do so, but then reneged at a time that Helms was out of commission due to major surgery.

As I say, I take no position as to whether Boyle should be confirmed. But given the Post’s one-sided presentation, I can’t help but wonder whether its opposition is driven at least in part by its animosity towards Jesse Helms.


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