7 July 2005
The NY Times reports that members of the Senate are gearing up for an epic Supreme Court nomination. This will be the first Supreme Court nomination battle in 11 years.
The hearings will be the first in the Internet era, and the first to be subjected to the relentless pressures of what Eric Ueland, chief of staff for the Senate Republican leader, Bill Frist, calls “the 24/7/365 blogging environment.”
Of the 100 members of the Senate, 56 members, “including including Dr. Frist – have never participated in a Supreme Court confirmation.”
The same goes for the Senate Judiciary Committee. Just eight of its 18 members – three Republicans and five Democrats – have Supreme Court confirmation experience.
So their aides are taking a crash course in history, combing through transcripts of old hearings, drafting timelines to determine how long it took to confirm previous nominees, reading news accounts to make certain they do not repeat foibles of the past, like security breaches.
Senator Arlen Specter, the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee has participated in nine Supreme Court nominations during his 25 years on the committee, though this will be his first as chair of the committee.
Senator Ted Kennedy has been on the Judiciary Committee for more than 40 years. In a conference call with Senator Kennedy on Friday, he told bloggers that he had participated in some 20 Supreme Court nominations.
In preparation of the nomination, Charlotte Burrows, who works for Senator Kennedy “has been studying the records of more than two dozen potential nominees.”
“We feel the need to cast a broad net,” Ms. Burrows said simply.
No doubt, as the NY Times mentioned, the internet will be abuzz as this drama unfolds complete with one working actor in the cast. Check the NY Times article to see what the Senators aides are reading in preparation for the nomination.