Many eyes quickly turned to U.S. Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada Tuesday evening after George Bush’s nomination of John Roberts to replace Sandra Day O’Connor on the U.S. Supreme Court.

Reid, the Democratic floor leader, and his fellow Democratic senators have talked freely about using the filibuster to stop nominations they oppose.

But Reid was less confrontational after the Roberts announcement, taking a wait-and-see posture until research of Roberts’ record is done. Reid issued a statement saying that Roberts has the necessary credentials to serve but leaving other issues open: “The president has chosen someone with suitable legal credentials, but that is not the end of our inquiry. The Senate must review Judge Roberts’ record to determine if he has a demonstrated commitment to the core American values of freedom, equality and fairness.”

Reid also took steps to keep rhetoric cool. The Washington Post reported, “Liberal advocacy groups immediately assailed Roberts for his positions on abortion and other issues. Before the announcement, however, Senate minority leader Harry M. Reid … ordered his fellow Democratic lawmakers to offer a more measured response to whomever Bush chose, to avoid appearing knee-jerk negative, aides said.”

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Dennis Myers

Dennis Myers was the news editor of the Reno News & Review. He was a journalist for more than four decades. In 1987-88 he was chief deputy secretary of state of Nevada. He was coauthor of Uniquely...