It is unlikely that the legal light weights who represent the Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committe can trip up a skilled appellate lawyer like Roberts. That is their real dilemma.
Reports that Senate Democrats are deeply divided over how to deal with the Supreme Court nomination of Judge John Roberts both oversimplify what's happening and underestimate the conundrums the party faces.
'Reports that Senate Democrats are deeply divided over how to deal with the Supreme Court nomination of Judge John Roberts both oversimplify what\'s happening and underestimate the conundrums the party faces.','E. J. Dionne Jr.')
Democrats are less divided than they are uncertain. They worry about doing too little to challenge Roberts, but they also doubt their capacity to stop his nomination.
Most Democrats are certain that Roberts is significantly more conservative than Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, whom he would replace, and that he will push the court to the right. But they wonder whether that alone can justify a full-fledged fight against him, let alone a filibuster.
Democrats who have studied tapes of Roberts's past congressional testimony have concluded that the nominee is skilled at good-natured evasion. "If he performs as opaquely as he did the last time," said one Democratic staff member close to the process, "he'll probably have the support of the vast majority of Republicans, and Democrats won't have anything to hang on to."