Highlights from the Clinton Archives for the RBG Nomination

July 22nd, 2014

There are some gems here. It seems RBG was steadfast in not backing away from her record, and she spoke critically of Justice Souter’s circuitous answer,s which she said “demeaned” himself.

First, she offers a “stalwart defense of the ACLU”:

When asked about her support for ACLU policies to legalize prostitution, decriminalize the distribution of pornography to minors, decriminalize marijuana, and ban the death penalty, Judge Ginsburg has a strong tendency to defend the ACLU position. She has an instinct for defending some rather extreme liberal views on these questions. She also relishes defending the ACLU as an institution, and its importance in American society.

Second, she rejects the “Souter approach” and prefers the Bork answers!

When shown videotapes of confirmation hearing answers by Judges Souter and Bork to similar questions, Judge Ginsburg’s reaction has been that JUdge Souter “demeaned” himself in giving “political” answers, while Judge Bork was “unjustly crucified” for his “candid” responses. Her answering style is more akin to Bork than Souter: her answers tend to be legalistic and doctrinal — even when dealing with crucial issues -~ rather than conveying core values.

Third, she has a “disdain for confirmation process:

At the same time, Judge Ginsburg believes that Judge Souter answered “too many” questions of the Committee about specific legal issues — like religious freedom and free speech and intends to be less responsive than he was in an effort to “restore dignity•i to the confirmation process. Her hostility to the process — to the Committee’s “victimizing” of Judge Bork (on the one hand) and Anita Hill and Lani Guinier (on the other) — is evident. She believes (and may publicly state) that the current process should be replaced by the one used for Chief Justice Burger: a one-hour hearing with no substantive questioning.

Fourth, RBG is too direct in discussing her opinions, and doesn’t speak to “core values.”

When asked a specific question about a prior decision G,.r writing,· Judge Ginsburg seems unable (or unwilling) to reassure that questioner’s underlying concerns, and instead, seems set on answering the specific charge (or, more often, nitpicking some aspect of the question’s premise). As noted above, the Judge has trouble addressing larger issues and speaking to core values.

Fifth, they doubt RBG’s “style.”

And finally, Judge Ginsburg’s technique — her failure to make eye contact, her halting speech, her “laconic” nature (to use Jim Hamilton’s phrase) -~ is not helpful.

There is no way a President would nominate RBG today. She wants to be “independent.”

You should be cautious in dealing with her on these and other points. Judge.Ginsburg views the White House’s interest and her interests as being.at odds with each other: she sees us as having a stake in presenting.her as a moderate and in getting along well with the Senate; she s.ees her interests as “being herself,” preserving her “digniti’,” and promoting her “independence.”

Also, Marty Ginsburg (RBG’s husband), recommended potential witnesses for her confirmation hearing. Gunther, and not Tribe, is the top ConLaw scholar in America.

Gerald Gunther — Professor of Law at Stanford and probably the leading constitutional law scholar in America (some would say Larry Tribe but I would not).