Tom Goldstein at SCOTUSblog opines that the coming battle over Supreme Court nominations will be the fiercest ever. His proof: the recent Ramesh Ponnuru piece calling out Laurence Tribe on his recent Green Bag article which holds some pretty over the top claims.
Feel free to read the Tribe and Ponnuru pieces yourself. But there is a broader point here: what is a serious publication like National Review doing publishing something so profoundly silly as this long piece? Could it be a short blog post somewhere(heh, like here)? If it’s accurate, perhaps. But this is umpteen words in the print version of the National Review.
The only thing I can figure is that the battle lines for the next Supreme Court nomination are being drawn in frighteningly personal terms. Tribe is an icon of the left who probably would be involved in a nomination fight, so the National Review has now joined the Weekly Standard – you’ll remember its recent piece concluding that sentences in a book Tribe wrote a couple of decades ago had an “uncomfortable reliance” on a book by Henry Abraham, to whom Tribe had sent an advance copy and whom Tribe credited – at trying to take a (lame) crack at Tribe’s personal credibility. Ponnuru seems to hit a new low, however, in spending a lot of words trying to make such a trivial point about an essay that is actually about the death of Tribe’s father – a subject that Ponnuru essentially back-handedly mocks.
I agree with Tom to the extent that the Tribe story could have been relegated to a simple post in the blogosphere(i.e., my post). It must be said, though, that Tribe’s essay was over the top and he therefore is subject to some degree of scrutiny. However, the fact that one side thought the story merits inclusion in the print version of a nationally circulated magazine does provoke the looming fear that the nomination battle will be less than jovial.