Skip to main content

A Rhetorical Judiciary, Too?



Into Jeffrey Tulis’s argument that “the rhetorical presidency signals and constitutes a fundamental transformation of American politics” he inserts parenthetically the question, “Has the rhetorical presidency now given birth to the rhetorical judiciary?” Whether the rhetorical presidency birthed or simply predated the rhetorical judiciary is open to question. The existence of the rhetorical judiciary is not. Since the publication of The Rhetorical Presidency, judges and their interlocutors have ratified one of the insights that grounded Tulis’s question, while challenging another. They have borne out his fear that judges would increasingly respond to attack; his worry about the vacuity of confirmation hearings for those nominated to the Supreme Court, however, has not been similarly confirmed.