Senate Democrat leaders, after briefly masquerading as "uniters, not dividers," appear to be gearing up to fight the nomination of John G. Roberts. Bring it on, ladies and gentlemen -- and Sen. Kennedy.
I doubt their opposition will be designed to defeat Roberts. He is way too qualified, clean and amiable. He is light years away from the gang of 14's "extraordinary circumstances" excuse to invoke a filibuster. And, he's supported by high-powered lawyers in both parties, from the Beltway to Harvard.
The fanfare over the release of decades-old legal memos, and, ultimately, Roberts' judicial philosophy is aimed at laying a foundation for opposing Bush's next high court nominee.
More importantly, it will feed the perpetually outraged malcontents known as the Democrat base. I suspect they're feeling abandoned following Hillary Clinton's most recent Sister Souljah moment in which she suggested the unthinkable: unity among the Michael Moore and Moveon.org crazies and the rest of the party.
But since we dare never underestimate the tenacity of the Democrat saboteurs, nor the squishiness of certain Republican moderates, we better take the Leahys and Schumers at their word and assume they mean business when they signal their readiness for battle.
Sen. Schumer, who but for his colleague Sen. Leahy, would deserve the highest award for political posturing and chutzpah, issued a veritable threat to the White House over three potential pitfalls facing Judge Roberts' confirmation.
Schumer warned that the White House's refusal to turn over every last document, no matter how remote or irrelevant, was "strike one" against the nominee. Robert's unwillingness to answer questions about past and future Supreme Court cases would be "strike two," and the Republicans' Sept. 29 deadline for voting on the nomination could be "strike three."
The tyrannical, would-be Umpire-in-Chief Schumer issued an edict from his minority pulpit declaring there will be "negative consequences" if one or more of these "strikes" accumulate against Roberts.
Meanwhile, Sen. Kennedy weighed in on the bogus documents flap, saying the attorney-client privilege doesn't shield Roberts' writings as deputy solicitor general because "that office works for all the American people, not just the president."
Under Kennedy's reasoning, this privilege can never be invoked, or waived, absent a plebiscite. Tell me if I'm mistaken, but I can't recall Kennedy pressing President Clinton to release documents he fraudulently sought to conceal under the executive privilege umbrella on the grounds that "the president and his entire staff works for all the people."