kinsley on estrada
Be sure to read Michael Kinsley's column on the Democratic opposition to Bush judicial nominee Miguel Estrada (either at Slate or today's WaPo, your choice).
Obviously, Estrada's real reason for evasiveness is the fear that if some senators knew what his views are, they would vote against him. However, this kind of high-minded bluster is a powerful weapon in the ongoing judicial wars. Over the past couple of decades, talk like this has intimidated many a senator who aspires to a reputation for thoughtfulness. And it does sound swell. Until you think about it.
Potential judges should not reveal their views on legal issues because a judge should have an open mind? Hiding your views doesn't make them go away. If the problem is judges having views on judicial topics, rather than judges expressing those views, then allowing people to become judges without revealing their views is a solution that doesn't address the problem. And if the problem is judges who fail to put their previous views aside, rather than judges having such views to begin with, then allowing judicial nominees to hide those views until it's too late is still a solution that is logically unrelated to the problem.
(continued in the next post)