Jon Scott did not challenge Sen. Lindsey Graham's claim that scheduling confirmation hearings for Sonia Sotomayor to begin on July 13 "would push us ahead of a confirmation schedule that we gave Chief Justice [John] Roberts." In fact, Roberts' hearings were also originally set to begin 48 days after he was nominated before being delayed for a week because of Hurricane Katrina and the death of William Rehnquist.
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On the June 10 edition of Fox News' Happening Now, co-host Jon Scott did not challenge Sen. Lindsey Graham's claim that scheduling confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor to begin on July 13 "would push us ahead of a confirmation schedule that we gave Chief Justice [John] Roberts" and that it would be "out of sync" with the schedule for Roberts' hearings -- a schedule Graham characterized as "fair." Scott asked Graham, "Why do you think Democrats want to see this thing pushed along so quickly?" and, "Do Republicans have the clout -- have the leverage here to slow the process down?" But Scott did not note, as Sen. Patrick Leahy stated in his June 9 announcement of the July 13 hearing date, that Roberts' hearings were also set to begin 48 days after he was nominated. On July 19, 2005, President Bush announced that he was nominating Roberts to fill a seat being vacated by Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. His confirmation hearings were scheduled to begin 48 days later, on September 6, but were postponed until September 12 following the death of then-Chief Justice William Rehnquist on September 3 and the landfall of Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana. On September 5, Bush named Roberts to fill Rehnquist's seat rather than O'Connor's.
In his June 9 announcement of the July 13 hearing date, Leahy said:
This is a schedule that tracks the process the Senate followed by bipartisan agreement in considering President Bush's nomination of John Roberts to the Supreme Court in 2005. At that time, I served as the Ranking Minority Member of the Judiciary Committee. I met with our Republican Chairman, and we worked out a schedule that provided for his hearing 48 days after he was named by President Bush. That agreement was reached before the Committee received the answers to the bipartisan questionnaire, and before the Committee had received any of the 75,000 pages of documents from his years working in Republican administrations. And of course, that nomination was to replace Justice O'Connor, who was recognized to be the pivotal vote on the Supreme Court. If 48 days were sufficient to prepare for that hearing, in accordance with our agreement and the initial schedule, it is certainly adequate time to prepare for the confirmation hearing for Judge Sotomayor.
Of course, while the Roberts nomination was pending, Chief Justice Rehnquist passed away and President Bush decided to withdraw the initial nomination to be an Associate Justice, and proceeded to nominate John Roberts to succeed the Chief Justice, instead. We did not insist that the process start over; rather, we continued to move forward. It was the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, with its destruction and toll in damage and human life, that pushed the start of the hearings back one week, by bipartisan agreement.
We were still able to complete Senate consideration and the Senate confirmed John Roberts to be the Chief Justice of the United States 72 days after he was initially designated to be an Associate Justice. We did this despite the fact that his initial nomination with withdrawn and he was renominated to serve as the Chief Justice of the United States. We did this despite the terrible aftermath of Hurricane Katrina that required a week's delay in beginning the Roberts confirmation hearing. Seventy-two days after Judge Sotomayor was designated to the Supreme Court will be August 6.
From the June 10 edition of Fox News' Happening Now:
SCOTT: Confirmation hearings for Judge Sonia Sotomayor are set to begin July 13. The chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Patrick Leahy, setting the date without consulting Republican members. Now, they say the process is being rushed; it'll force them to review 76 cases that she's handled per day just to prepare for the hearing.
Let's talk about it with Senator Lindsey Graham, a member of the Judiciary Committee. He joins us live from Capitol Hill. Senator Graham, what do you think about this proposed schedule?
GRAHAM: I think when you do it unilaterally, you're gonna get a hard time -- it'd be hard to get buy-in. I will support Senator Sessions, the ranking member -- ranking Republican on Judiciary -- to come up with a timeline he feels comfortable with. This would push us ahead of a confirmation schedule that we gave Chief Justice Roberts.
I know the president wants his nominee dealt with quickly. But you gotta remember, when he was Senator Obama, he voted to basically filibuster Judge [Samuel] Alito when -- I'm not going to be rushed into doing something I think is important for the country.
SCOTT: Why do you think Democrats want to see this thing pushed along so quickly?
GRAHAM: Well, every president and every party trying to get a judge confirmed wants it done quickly. But we had a schedule set up for Justice Roberts that I thought was fair. He was confirmed on September 29, in time for the October session, but I guess they don't want scrutiny.
I mean, the only thing I can suggest is that they think the more people look, the more problems she has. And I think the American people need to scrutinize a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court, and we intend to do that. We're not going to be rushed into doing this -- there's no good reason.
SCOTT: Well --
GRAHAM: We're not going to be pushed.
SCOTT: Do Republicans have the clout -- have the leverage here to slow the process down?
GRAHAM: Yeah, I think we've got a lot on our side. We've got a schedule set up for Chief Justice Roberts and Alito that this would be out of sync with. She has a longer record than either one of those judges, and it takes time -- we just got a questionnaire.
We have a right to be thorough. We're not intending to obstruct this nomination, but we're going to make sure we understand who the nominee is. And, yeah, I think we have some clout.