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April 13, 2005

RANDY BARNETT:

I have long bemoaned the opportunity cost of the aborted Supreme Court nomination of Judge Douglas Ginsburg of the D.C Circuit Court of Appeals. Nominated in the wake of Robert Bork's defeat, Ginsburg was pressured (rumor has it by then-Drug "Czar" Bill Bennett) to withdraw his name when it was disclosed by Nina Totenberg (whose speaker's agent brags about it here) that he had smoked marijuana in the presence of law students when he was a professor at Harvard Law School. Anthony Kennedy was nominated in his place.

What happened to Judge Ginsburg was a tragedy for liberty, and a terrible injustice to a very decent man. Without casting any aspersions on Justice Kennedy, I really wish that now-Chief Judge Ginsburg, the most libertarian Supreme Court nominee in the modern era, had been on the Court these past 15 years.

Me, too. Thanks fer nuthin', Bill!

UPDATE: John Podhoretz emails to say that this is unfair to Bill Bennett:

Just a note to say Bill Bennett wasn't Drug Czar when Doug Ginsburg was nominated for the Supreme Court. The job didn't even exist. At the time, in 1987, it was a lead-pipe cinch that any public figure who had to admit to doing illegal drugs was in BIG trouble. And Bennett was then secretary of education.

As I was but a stripling youth at the time, I can hardly be expected to remember such things.