The American Prospect: Advise and Pontificate
This excerpt is from a piece that originally ran on April 7, 2022.
Some legal advocates would like to see a nominee’s on-the-record written answers that they provide to senators before public hearings also made public before the hearings, rather than after, as is currently the case. “You will see how the judge thought about responding to various questions that were posed in a nonadversarial position,” says Rakim Brooks, president of Alliance for Justice, a progressive court reform advocacy group. That way, “we would all know in advance if there was a duck and dodge in a particular question, but we’d also know they’re on record not answering.”
Hearings on Supreme Court nominees should also be required by law to take place within a set time window. That would prevent both the tactics used by then–Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to thwart President Obama’s right to install Antonin Scalia’s successor, as well as those used by President Trump to rush through Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation.
Brooks notes that the intensity of these hearings, crammed into several days with marathon rounds of interrogation, suggests that they often are going to end up in “a hysterical place because a senator gets 30 minutes of questioning. The nominee is exhausted. The chair doesn’t want to take a break because we’re in such a rush to get the person confirmed.”
He recommends that the Senate “regularize what the process is going to be, with everybody just agreeing in advance that [for example] it’s going to be two weeks.”