Arizona Daily Wildcat
Thursday, September 22, 2005
It's not often that C-SPAN offers funnier fare than the foul-mouthed clowns of Comedy Central or the overwrought teens of MTV.
Just last week, though, the honorable senators of the Senate Judiciary Committee turned what could have been an opportunity to quiz Supreme Court nominee Judge John Roberts into an almost comical, self-serving soapbox from which they could feed their already sizable egos.
Aside from the fact that it was more farce than gravitas, what's unfortunate about the whole matter is that the senators were preening for the cameras at a time when their nation needed level-headed legislators the most - in the midst of confirming a man who could conceivably alter the course of American jurisprudence.
Instead, Americans were treated to meandering, long-winded sermons and a chief justice nominee who seemed content to swat away what few serious questions there were with a lopsided grin and references to baseball.
Cynics would contend that none of this matters anyway (Roberts was widely expected to be confirmed even before the hearings began), but therein lies a problem at the very heart of our political system.
Many Americans, college students among them, have apparently approached Roberts' confirmation with a casual indifference. Recently released Gallup polling data found that a full one-third of those surveyed had no opinion on Roberts or his stance on the issues.
One in three Americans doesn't have an opinion on a man who will work to decide whether abortion remains legal? Whether the "war on terror" justifies the curtailing of civil liberties? Whether gays should be allowed to marry? Viewed through this prism, it might seem more important.
Of course it doesn't help when senators don't appear to be particularly serious about the process, but the implications of a Supreme Court nominee affect all of us (and not just political junkies or the legally inclined). Business students: The Supreme Court's decisions on the Fifth Amendment just might brighten your hope of replacing that ghetto with a strip mall. Science kids: It might be up to the court one day whether or not you'll receive federal funding for stem cell research.
So before you close your ears (and your mind) as President Bush fills two vacancies on the Supreme Court, take a moment to seriously consider the consequences of who's going to be sitting on the nation's highest bench.
Lord knows, our senators won't.
Opinions are determined by the Wildcat opinions board and written by one of its members. They are Caitlin Hall, Ryan Johnson, Damion LeeNatali, Aaron Mackey, Mike Morefield and Tim Runestad.