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Chicago Tribune: Why Supreme Court nominees shouldn’t testify

September 11, 2018

It’s not hard to understand why Brett Kavanaugh would spend three long days submitting himself to the questions, pronouncements and self-aggrandizement of the members of the Senate Judiciary Committee. For his trouble, he can expect a lifetime job on the highest court in the land. What’s hard to understand is why any of the rest of us would squander part of our allotted lifespans on this exercise.

The opportunity to watch and hear the nominee speak for himself promises to be almost completely irrelevant to the outcome. The Democratic senators were already resolved to vote against him, and the Republicans arrived firm in the opposite intention. Decades ago, such testimony may have been worthwhile for lawmakers and voters. If so, that time has passed. Better now for the senators to peruse the nominee’s record, identify his or her virtues and failings, and debate how this information should guide their confirmation votes, yea or nay. That process might not change many votes, either. But at least it would eliminate a lot of pointless and time-consuming theatrics. Given the choice, most of us would prefer a good circus.

— Chicago Tribune

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