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Will Roberts' Supporters Drop Their Guard?

There have been a lot of white flags raised in the media recently over the nomination of John Roberts (search) for the Supreme Court (search).

The Washington Post quoted Democrats as saying Roberts is all but assured confirmation.

The New York Times echoes the Post, quoting Democrats as saying they will only ask tough questions since they don't have the votes to stop him. This may be true, or it could be a set-up.

I remember what was said before and during the Clarence Thomas (search) hearings in 1991. The New York Times headlined: "Thomas to win high court seat, senators predict."

The Washington Post said: "Thomas gaining momentum as week ends; senators gentle questioning on fourth day of hearings suggests doubts may be put aside."

The Associated Press wrote: "Democrats admit Thomas heading toward Senate confirmation."

The Los Angeles Times headlined: "Democrats talk as if court seat for Thomas is assured."

And The Atlanta Constitution said: "Frustrated Democrats take a softer line in questioning Thomas. Even skeptics seem to expect confirmation."

Here's what I think: As with the Thomas hearings, this sounds like an effort to cause Roberts' supporters to drop their guard. You know they're looking for some bloody shirt they can wave and then claim he is out of the mainstream and unfit to serve.

With Thomas, we got an 11th hour appearance by Anita Hill who made fantastic allegations that were never proved. The left tried to get the adoption records for Roberts' two children, but the effort was roundly condemned.

After these stories appeared, leftist groups started criticizing Democrats for not speaking up and some Democrats immediately began condemning Roberts.

The Democrats rely on the Supreme Court to do their bidding. I don't expect them to roll over on this nomination and Judge Roberts' supporters should keep their guard up until the day he is confirmed. And then count the votes again.

And that's Column One.

What do you think? Send your responses to: afterhours@foxnews.com.

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Cal Thomas is America's most widely syndicated op-ed columnist. He joined Fox News Channel in 1997 as a political contributor. His latest book is "What Works: Common Sense Solutions for a Stronger America" is available in bookstores now. Readers may email Cal Thomas at tcaeditors@tribune.com.

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