The Path Forward
The recent hearings on John Roberts and Samuel Alito, like the hearings on Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer, were collegial and decorous. Roberts and Alito earned confirmation without having to endure the kinds of harsh allegations leveled against Robert Bork and Clarence Thomas. Some observers might take heart from that fact. On another view, though, the Roberts and Alito hearings were spectacular failures. That is not because Roberts and Alito were bad nominees. They are undoubtedly first-rate lawyers, and they appear to be thoughtful and decent men. It is possible that they will turn out to be very good justices. Even so, the hearings were a disappointment because Americans learned very little from them about what kind of justices Roberts and Alito would be.
Because nominees now routinely evade senators' questions about their jurisprudence, Americans have struggled for two decades to find a good way to discuss whether they should be confirmed. The purpose of this book has been to diagnose the source of this quandary and prescribe a solution to it. The diagnosis is simple. The problems with the confirmation process have their roots not in newly partisan