IN ANNOUNCING his opposition yesterday to the nomination of Judge John G. Roberts Jr. to be chief justice of the United States, Senate Minority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) made a remarkable statement: "The president is not entitled to very much deference in staffing the third branch of government, the judiciary." Leave aside the merits of the Roberts nomination, which we support; if Mr. Reid regards Judge Roberts as unworthy, he is duty-bound to vote against him. But these are dangerous words that Democrats will come to regret.This notion, if applied by the Republicans during the Clinton administration, would have resulted in few if any of his nominees actually being seated.
The Post correctly notes that regardless of party affiliation, "the president's choice has a heavy presumption of confirmation." It's up to opponents to demonstrate why a nominee is unfit for the position—or simply to vote against the nominee. But please, spare us any pretense of high principle, Senator.