at least it's not Luttig?
July 19, 2005 4:51 PM   Subscribe

the Supreme Court Short List --read it and weep, or not. CNN is already reporting it's John Roberts, and not Edith Clements. Bush announces at 9pm est. Roberts worked for both Reagan and Bush 1, btw.
posted by amberglow (185 comments total)

 
CBS News is also reporting it is John G. Roberts as well.
posted by SirOmega at 4:54 PM on July 19, 2005


on Roberts: ...But his record as a lawyer for the Reagan and first Bush administrations and in private practice is down-the-line conservative on key contested fronts, including abortion, separation of church and state, and environmental protection. ...

from FreeRepublic: ...By contrast, Roberts, with 20 months on the D.C. Circuit, has few opinions or other writings that have attracted enemies. As a result, some conservatives have made unflattering comparisons between Roberts and Supreme Court Justice David Souter, whose short stint on the 1st Circuit before being appointed in 1990 by President George H.W. Bush failed to reveal Souter's moderate-to-liberal leanings on some issues.

Yet those who know Roberts say he, unlike Souter, is a reliable conservative who can be counted on to undermine if not immediately overturn liberal landmarks like abortion rights and affirmative action. Indicators of his true stripes cited by friends include: clerking for Rehnquist, membership in the Federalist Society, laboring in the Ronald Reagan White House counsel's office and at the Justice Department into the Bush years, working with Kenneth Starr among others, and even his lunchtime conversations at Hogan & Hartson. "He is as conservative as you can get," one friend puts it. In short, Roberts may combine the stealth appeal of Souter with the unwavering ideology of Scalia and Thomas. ...

posted by amberglow at 4:54 PM on July 19, 2005


Hatch loves him, apparently--from the Senate proceedings appointing him to District Court
posted by amberglow at 4:58 PM on July 19, 2005


It's like one of those rides at Cedar Point as you climb to the top, strapped in those little cars, the anticipation of soon falling hundreds of feet making you grip the handlebars too tightly...click click click click click click
posted by billysumday at 5:00 PM on July 19, 2005


New York Times has named him as well.
posted by _sirmissalot_ at 5:01 PM on July 19, 2005


I have no doubt that I will be suitably outraged over whomever Bush decides to nominate.
posted by fenriq at 5:03 PM on July 19, 2005


I'm surprised that Bush didn't choose a woman or a latino (assuming this is an accurate report) as a political wedge tactic / to aid in a quicker confirmation hearing and vote.

Is it time to start a pool on whether there's a filibuster?
posted by meditative_zebra at 5:03 PM on July 19, 2005


The Front-Runners on Roe-- ...The hard-liners: In 1991, as deputy solicitor general for President George H.W. Bush, John Roberts (now a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit) co-wrote the administration's brief in Rust v. Sullivan. Roberts' position, which was adopted by the Supreme Court, barred doctors and clinics receiving federal funds from discussing the possibility of abortion with their patients or referring them to family-planning clinics that do the procedure. The brief said on behalf of the administration, "We continue to believe that Roe was wrongly decided and should be overruled." ...
posted by amberglow at 5:03 PM on July 19, 2005


The problem is that the Senate just approved him to the DC Circuit Court only 2 years ago--how can they filibuster him?
posted by amberglow at 5:04 PM on July 19, 2005


I was already giving Bush the benefit of the doubt that he would pick a relative moderate like Edith Clement. I assumed maybe some more moderate side, like we saw in Texas, might emerge now that he doesn't have to keep the nutso-wing of his base appeased. But, alas, I was wrong and everyone else was right...

69% of Americans want to keep Roe v. Wade in place... yet Roberts says "believe(s) that Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided and should be overruled."
posted by trinarian at 5:06 PM on July 19, 2005


I guess Edith Clements would have sailed through her confirmation hearings too quickly and may have actually been an asset to American jurisprudence.
Remember, if Chewbacca lives on Endor, Karl Rove did not do anything wrong! Look at the silly monkey!
posted by Dr. Zira at 5:08 PM on July 19, 2005


amberglow: It'll be a Republican talking point, but not a heavy one. They've been complaining about obstruction for awhile, and that would show Democrats have been relatively selective in who've they blocked going into certain positions.
posted by trinarian at 5:09 PM on July 19, 2005


If the senate dems don't go to the mat opposing this nominee, I'm gonna be might pissed. I want a government shutdown.

This tactic of building suspense and staging a dramatic prime-time announcement is SO transparently about intervening in the increasingly disastrous Plamegate news cycle. It's simply disgustingly cynical. I hope the first question after the announcement is "Mr. President, do you intend to fire Rove?" But no, we'll have a sillyfest over the most divisive possible choice Bush could have made short of Ann Coulter. God, I hate this administration.
posted by realcountrymusic at 5:09 PM on July 19, 2005


I should add that I will be suitably outraged, just as ShrubCo wants me to be.
posted by fenriq at 5:10 PM on July 19, 2005


Clement, guys, not Clements. CNN was talking about her earlier and I was supposing that perhaps Democrats should move to make her add that natural "S" to her name before confirming.
posted by trinarian at 5:11 PM on July 19, 2005


He's in, i think. I hope this is over with quickly and they start hearings on Rove's TreasonGate.

CNN just flashed--Roberts advised the Bush team in Florida in 2000. Lovely.
posted by amberglow at 5:11 PM on July 19, 2005


Did they choose Roberts to help distract from Rove?

Evil Plotter: 'If we choose to nominate someone who will guarantee a contentious confirmation hearing, it will distract the media from the Karl Rove leak story'. Cue Evil Laughter.
posted by meditative_zebra at 5:11 PM on July 19, 2005


and Jesus... the guy is 50... he'd be there for THIRTY plus effin' years
posted by trinarian at 5:13 PM on July 19, 2005


What's wrong with Roberts?
posted by monju_bosatsu at 5:14 PM on July 19, 2005


Question- is it possible that Bush could be putting this very conservative guy out there as a decoy? He puts him out, the Democrats freak out and look negative, just like Bush wants them to, and then they pull out someone a bit more moderate and maybe a female or minority?
posted by 235w103 at 5:14 PM on July 19, 2005


Net Worth: $3,782,275
Bush Contributor
Bush/GOP Campaign
Member, Lawyers for Bush-Cheney
Federalist Society Member

more ...
posted by ericb at 5:14 PM on July 19, 2005


I bet Bush picks Ashcroft to replace Rehnquist. : <

Has ScotusBlog written about Roberts at all?
posted by amberglow at 5:14 PM on July 19, 2005


Did they choose Roberts to help distract from Rove?

Reuters: Supreme Court timing moved up to protect Rove
"Sources said the timing of an announcement had been moved up in part to deflect attention away from a CIA leak controversy that has engulfed Bush's top political adviser, Karl Rove.

A Republican strategist with close ties to the White House described Clement as the leading candidate. 'She's pretty untouchable," he said. "Plus, it helps take Rove off the front pages for a week.'"
posted by ericb at 5:15 PM on July 19, 2005


235w103 - that thought crossed my mind, too.
posted by ericb at 5:17 PM on July 19, 2005


from EricB's source:

Roberts's name appears on the government's brief defending the gag rule under which federally funded family-planning clinics were barred from offering abortion counseling. The brief (Rust v. Sullivan) argued in passing, as the Bush administration contended at the time, that Roe v. Wade should be overturned. In another case, Mr. Roberts argued for the government that the activities of abortion protesters did not constitute discrimination against women. (Washington Post, June 7, 2001)

As a former deputy solicitor under the first President Bush, Roberts successfully argued on behalf of the federal government in a 1990 Supreme Court case that private citizens do not have the right to sue over environmental violations unless they have been directly affected by the violation. (Environmental Magazine, December 31, 2003)

posted by trinarian at 5:17 PM on July 19, 2005


I don't thinks so, 235w--He makes both the Corporate GOP wing happy (he was a lobbyist and corp. lawyer), and the Fundy GOP wing happy.

Maybe he has a nanny problem or something?
posted by amberglow at 5:20 PM on July 19, 2005


Here is the Supreme Court Nomination Blog post on Roberts, with links to the four-part profile on SCOTUSblog.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 5:22 PM on July 19, 2005


what's wrong with roberts?
posted by matteo at 5:23 PM on July 19, 2005


You know, we need to just call the 'moral minority's' bluff and just let Roe v. Wade be overturned. Then the Republican's holding office or wanting to hold office can deal with the majority of those in this country who don't agree with that.

Also, where will Republicans go for their abortions?
posted by UseyurBrain at 5:23 PM on July 19, 2005


235w: Some friends and I were discussing the other day the possibility of the first pick being a decoy. I don't think it's Bush's style... if he doesn't back down on some arrogant dick like John Bolton for a relatively menial position like UN ambassador, why the hell would he give up on a SCOTUS nominee?

Washinton Post article on Roberts and Luttig I'm reading now...
posted by trinarian at 5:24 PM on July 19, 2005


... While working under Presidents Reagan and Bush, Mr. Roberts supported a hard-line, anti-civil rights policy that opposed affirmative action, would have made it nearly impossible for minorities to prove a violation of the Voting Rights Act and would have “resegregated” America’s public schools. He also took strongly anti-choice positions in two Supreme Court cases, one that severely restricted the ability of poor women to gain information about abortion services, and another that took away a key means for women and clinics to combat anti-abortion zealots. ... --from the Alliance for Justice PDF linked to in monju's link--thanks!
posted by amberglow at 5:25 PM on July 19, 2005


That's a clever argument, matteo. The only evidence I've seen that Roberts would overrule Roe was the brief he authored on behalf of the first Bush administration, hardly compelling evidence of his own view. Roberts has a pretty strong respect for stare decisis, and although he is obviously conservative, it is not obvious that he would vote to overrule Roe were he on the Court.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 5:26 PM on July 19, 2005


Put out a candidate who will outrage the Dems, distract the nation from that whole complicated Plame thing, then pull a moderate out of their hat once their poll numbers get a boost. My, what a verrry cunning plan....
posted by Floydd at 5:27 PM on July 19, 2005


Also, where will Republicans go for their abortions?

The rich ones (or their daughters, or mistresses, etc.) will go where they always went -- to expensive private doctors who will safely perform the procedure in secrecy. (Or they'll just go to Canada.) Coat hangers and Drano and ground glass are for the masses!
posted by scody at 5:31 PM on July 19, 2005


At least Roberts isn't Pryor. He's got that much running for him.
posted by clevershark at 5:32 PM on July 19, 2005


monju_bosatsu: "we continue to believe that Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided and should be overruled."

His position seems pretty clear to me...
posted by trinarian at 5:33 PM on July 19, 2005


Do these idiots have any idea what kind of shitstorm they'd find themselves in if they overturn Roe? In this day and age, I can't believe it's even under consideration. Or perhaps that's just what they want.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:33 PM on July 19, 2005


Except when have you ever seen this administration cave? They won't let a little outrage change their mind after the Dem's freak out. They'll railroad him right through.
This is way more important than some UN representitive, or even any given administration.
Bush's handlers have told him who is getting the spot. They stopped giving a shit about dissenting opinion somewhere around the turn of the century.
The same time accountability died.
posted by Balisong at 5:35 PM on July 19, 2005


And Roberts is only 50--he'll have 30 years + to make rulings--they can chip Roe v. Wade away little by little til there's nothing left. There's a case coming up next season that'll do just that.
posted by amberglow at 5:40 PM on July 19, 2005


"we continue to believe that Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided and should be overruled."

sigh. Again, that statement was made in the context of a brief Roberts wrote on behalf of his client, the first Bush administration. It is not his position, it is the administration's. Now, it may well be that he agrees with that statement, but I have seen no real evidence that he would overturn Roe if he were on the Court. Roberts is a top-flight jurist, not a political hack. He has a healthy respect for stare decisis, and any claims that he would jump at the chance to overturn thirty years of established precedent is overblown. That's not to say that the scope of the abortion right won't be modified in some way, but I am skeptical of any claims that Roe will be overruled outright.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 5:41 PM on July 19, 2005


Balisong: I saw that with Social Security earlier in the year, actually.
posted by raysmj at 5:42 PM on July 19, 2005


Report of the Alliance for Justice: Opposition to the Confirmation of John G. Roberts to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit [PDF]
posted by ericb at 5:44 PM on July 19, 2005


Provides a comprehensive background and biography of Roberts.
posted by ericb at 5:45 PM on July 19, 2005


monju_bosatsu: I think in light of A) how much more moderate H.W. Bush's administration [who had Roberts arguing this case] was compared to his sons, and B) how thoroughly each candidate must have been grilled to prevent another Souter, and C) how a Roe v. Wade overturn is the cornerstone of the Republican Party's platform right now... I think you're speaking a little too theoretical. IANAL, but I highly doubt those words are far from his own beliefs. Why would he have taken the case... and won it?
posted by trinarian at 5:52 PM on July 19, 2005


I don't know Souter from shinola, but I thought this was helpful:

Why Roberts' co-authorship of the brief in Rust v. Sullivan does not mean he is anti-Roe.

As monju_bosatsu said, a statement of his client's position is not a fair indicator of his personal views.

That's like saying Eric Rudolph's lawyer must be a right-wing terrorist.

On preview, trinarian, he would have taken the case because he was the Principal Deputy Solicitor General.
posted by designbot at 5:56 PM on July 19, 2005


Why would he have taken the case... and won it?

Because that was his job? Anyway, he won on narrower grounds than were urged by the administration; the Court did not, in fact, overrule Roe as requested. I agree that this administration is certainly interested in avoiding another Nominee like Souter, or Kennedy, or even O'Connor, but at the same time, I think the emphasis on Roe by both sides is overblown. Perhaps I'm cynical, but Roe is red meat for the far right wing of the Republication party. I don't exepct it, however, to be the top priority in choosing Justices. The focus of Bush's selection process has almost cerainly been to find a pro-business nominee. That's why the nominee won't be somebody like McConnell, who is an ideologue. All of the nominees being discussed in the last few days, including Jones, Clement, Roberts, and others are pro-business. Roe is a red herring.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 5:59 PM on July 19, 2005


Well, there he is, then...
posted by Balisong at 6:04 PM on July 19, 2005


That's some terrible dye job on Bush.

"Wag the Judge" anyone? ; >
posted by amberglow at 6:06 PM on July 19, 2005


Before you nominate someone to the "judi-shury", you ought to be able to pronounce it properly...
posted by Dr. Zira at 6:07 PM on July 19, 2005


Whee! A white man! Hooray!
posted by Nice Donkey at 6:09 PM on July 19, 2005


What, no Q&A period?
posted by Balisong at 6:10 PM on July 19, 2005


at least he didn't say "the institution of family" -- that's something.

(Nice, they were the 2 whitest guys on Earth, i thought)
posted by amberglow at 6:10 PM on July 19, 2005


monju: like i said, IANA(BA)L, but I don't think you'd be working for that team if you didn't stand with them just as strongly at home as you do at work. Your red-herring point is well-taken.
posted by trinarian at 6:11 PM on July 19, 2005


QUOTE – "Roe v. Wade is the settled law of the land. ... There's nothing in my personal views that would prevent me from fully and faithfully applying that precedent."

So it seems he's of both minds on Roe v. Wade I guess?
posted by macadamiaranch at 6:11 PM on July 19, 2005


it's good to finally see the white man get ahead in this world
posted by trinarian at 6:15 PM on July 19, 2005


Schumer says on CNN he didn't answer questions fully and openly, and refused to answer some questions, when he was up for District Court.
posted by amberglow at 6:16 PM on July 19, 2005


Schumer on CNN -- says he voted against Roberts once already...
posted by matteo at 6:16 PM on July 19, 2005


Thanks for finding that quote, macadamiaranch; I knew Roberts had been asked about Roe in his previous confirmation hearing. I should note, however, that asking a Circuit Court nominee about Roe is very different from asking a Supreme Court nominee the same question. Circuit Court judges, while they have a lot of power, are expected to respect and apply Supreme Court precedent. Even boldly anti-abortion judges, like Edith Jones, will rarely flout the Court. Jones, for example, wrote the per curium opinion for the Fifth Circuit in McCorvey, declining to overturn the original Roe decision at the request of Norma McCorvey, the original Jane Roe. However, she did file a concurring opinion suggesting that the Supreme Court should consider limiting or overturning the decision. A Supreme Court Justice, on the other hand, has the power to change existing precedent, although stare decisis acts as a prudential bar to doing so. Roberts answered in his confirmation hearing that he would apply Roe as a Circuit Judge, not that he would not overturn it were he on the Supreme Court. My point is simply this: there are few or no data points by which to predict whether Roberts would overturn Roe. Those who oppose him on those grounds have been distracted. Besides, he'll undoubtedly get grilled on it in his confirmation hearings.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 6:22 PM on July 19, 2005


So anyone who was purportedly against Roe is a no go for the SC?
posted by Ron at 6:28 PM on July 19, 2005


he'll undoubtedly get grilled on it in his confirmation hearings.

As he's undoubtedly been grilled on it in his pre-confirmation hearings.
posted by Balisong at 6:32 PM on July 19, 2005


Those who oppose him on those grounds have been distracted.

so you don't think that somebody important in the White House, alone in a room with Roberts, just asked him the very plain question he'll refuse to answer in the Senate, ie 'are you goin to overturn Roe, yes or no'?

do you believe that politicians act like Law professors in Arcadia*? that this White house wants to risk another Souter, pissing off to no end the Christians anti-abortion nuts who made Bush President?

O'Connor's seat is political gold. unlike Rehnquist's. only Stevens' is more precious for Republicans

*if you do believe that, maybe Bush vs Gore was decided strictly on legal merit, too
posted by matteo at 6:38 PM on July 19, 2005


~~ er pre-nomination consultations...
posted by Balisong at 6:38 PM on July 19, 2005


I just read the opinion he wrote in Hedgepeth ex rel. Hedgepath v. Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, [linked at SCOTUS Blog] his writing is good; very clear reasoning. He's a smarty.
posted by Dr. Zira at 6:39 PM on July 19, 2005


Tribe on CNN just said Roberts' a great guy to work with, but the issue is not whether Roberts is a good judge and a nice guy, it's what is going to happen to people's rights
posted by matteo at 6:47 PM on July 19, 2005


Tribe should be on the court, not this guy. He's not experienced enough at all, and no life outside DC.
posted by amberglow at 6:49 PM on July 19, 2005


Unless something totally unrelated to judicial philosophy arises (nanny problem, etc.), Roberts will be confirmed.

Roberts will refuse to answer the question of whether or not he will vote to overturn Roe or any other Supreme Court precedent, just as all former Supreme Court nominees have always refused to answer questions committing them to ruling one way or another on a case which might come before the Court. He will nevertheless be approved by the Judiciary Committee, possibly on a party line vote, but approved nonetheless.

His confirmation will be assured within a matter of days of his approval by the Judiciary Committee when all (or almost all) of the Republican members of the Gang of 14 announce that Roberts nomination does not constitute extraordinary circumstances permitting a filibuster under the Gang of 14 agreement.

Democrats who don't like this should have worked harder last November.
posted by MattD at 6:49 PM on July 19, 2005


Good--let it be over with fast, so we can get back to indicting all the White House staff.
posted by amberglow at 6:52 PM on July 19, 2005


So, matteo, what is going to happen to people's rights? Any solid evidence one way or the other?

And Amberglow, this guy can't be attacked for his experience. He was worked as White House Counsel, worked in the Soliciter General's Office, worked for the DOJ, in private practice was a preeminent advocate before the Supreme Court, and spent nearly two years on the D.C. Circuit. There are few as experienced as he is. As for your last point, I agree with that. Concentrate on following the Rove trail as far as it leads.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 7:05 PM on July 19, 2005


Good--let it be over with fast, so we can get back to indicting all the White House staff.

I had the same thought today when I was thinking about the nomination. Unless it's Bork II.
posted by Arch Stanton at 7:07 PM on July 19, 2005


monju, He went from Harvard to clerking for Rehnquist to a DC law firm to GOP government to DC District Court, with brief stints lobbying in DC--not broad experience at all--life or otherwise. He's a DC creation--entirely. Where is his realworld experience? Where is his knowledge of life for those of us not in DC, and not Harvard-educated and Supreme Court-clerked? All good judges have lived lives, and faced oppression or struggled in one way or another--even Scalia did. It gives judges a wider base of experience and some empathy for the people who come before them (and if not empathy, at least there's comprehension). Again, where's his life outside the DC bubble?
posted by amberglow at 7:15 PM on July 19, 2005


*FNORD*
Nothing to see here, move along, citizen.
*/FNORD*
posted by Balisong at 7:15 PM on July 19, 2005


Any solid evidence one way or the other?


Very solid. Bush chose him.
I am sure you remember Bush's position on abortion. the Supreme Court is his gift to the Christian Right -- his base. just like the choice of Ashcroft as AG was during his first term.

unless, I repeat, you think SCOTUS decisions (and selections) happen in a politics-free blissful vacuum. in that case, I again suggest you consider Bush v Gore
posted by matteo at 7:17 PM on July 19, 2005


Roe will be overturned. And while everyone is down at the dead baby bonfires, the real crime will be the Corporate bandits sneaking around the back, looting the U.S. Treasury.
posted by The Jesse Helms at 7:21 PM on July 19, 2005


In a brief before the Supreme Court in the case Rust v. Sullivan (500 U.S. 173, 1991), Roberts wrote:

"We continue to believe that [Roe v. Wade] was wrongly decided and should be overruled. As more fully explained in our briefs, filed as amicus curiae, in Hodgson v. Minnesota, 110 S. Ct. 2926 (1990); Webster v. Reproductive Health Services, 109 S. Ct. 3040 (1989); Thornburgh v. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, 476 U.S. 747 (1986); and City of Akron v. Akron Center for Reproductive Health, 462 U.S. 416 (1983), the Court's conclusions in Roe that there is a fundamental right to an abortion and that government has no compelling interest in protecting prenatal human life throughout pregnancy find no support in the text, structure, or history of the Constitution."
posted by The Jesse Helms at 7:25 PM on July 19, 2005


Very solid. Bush chose him.
...
unless, I repeat, you think SCOTUS decisions (and selections) happen in a politics-free blissful vacuum. in that case, I again suggest you consider Bush v Gore


No, Karl Rove chose him. ; >

And he should be asked about Bush v. Gore and how he would have ruled. He also has a history of wanting to expand the takings clause, so should be asked about the Eminent Domain thing too.

TheJesse, he's totally against Roe v. Wade--they wouldn't dare alienate their base that way--they need them for the 06 elections.
posted by amberglow at 7:30 PM on July 19, 2005


Roe should be overruled. It's a stupid decision. Trimesters are meaningless.
posted by ParisParamus at 7:33 PM on July 19, 2005


Re: that quote from Rust v. Sullivan:
the Court's conclusions in Roe that there is a fundamental right to an abortion and that government has no compelling interest in protecting prenatal human life throughout pregnancy find no support in the text, structure, or history of the Constitution."

This is technically correct, but only matters if you believe that norms are complete or incomplete and thus continually filled in through a natural-selectiony interaction with everyday, contingent events. If you believe the former, you're an originalist, like Scalia, and this quote by Roberts is pretty similar to the comments that Scalia has made in all the privacy rights cases, not just in abortion, but regarding the overall idea of privacy as a fundamental right. Just as it's factually correct that the constitution doesn't specifically provide for abortion rights, the constitution of the Founders also doesn't protect against, say, phone wiretaps. This is, of course, because phone wiretaps didn't exist two hundred years ago, but if you believe that the Constitution is the only source of authoritative law, then this shouldn't matter to you.

I haven't been following Roberts and it's very likely that he opposes abortion, but it's also possible that he put this in his brief just to preach to the converted (i.e. the conservative half of the court that largely believes this point of view).

Incidentally, a law professor told me that at all times throughout history, the SCOTUS's rulings have largely conformed with what a public opinion poll at that time held to be the opinion of "the american people." Obviously, I can't substantiate this and it's probably overstated, but that should give you at least some reassurance about the court overturning roe.

On Preview: Roe was overruled in Casey. The United States no longer really uses the trimester system and instead finds that restrictions on abortion are illegal if they place an "undue burden" on the fundamental right to abortion.

PS. Sorry for all this. I just did 25 PMBR con law questions!
posted by kensanway at 7:37 PM on July 19, 2005


Roe should be overruled.
posted by ParisParamus at 7:33 PM PST on July 19


What are you, Matlock? Sustained!
posted by The Jesse Helms at 7:39 PM on July 19, 2005


This supreme court nominee, it vibrates?
posted by blue_beetle at 7:43 PM on July 19, 2005


Democrats who don't like this should have worked harder last November.

Hard work . . . where have I heard that before? Needless to say, in my opinion, to paraphrase William Munny's line in Unforgiven as he blows away Gene Hackman's evil sheriff, "work's got nothin' to do with it." But at least it's now clear just what was at stake that led decent Republicans to remain silent about one of the most unethical and incivil campaign machines of all time and its blatantly dishonest gaming of the political process using the full resources of the state, including trumped up terror alerts, staged "arrests" of al Qaeda minor leaguers that just happened to happen, say, right in the middle of the Democratic Convention, the miraculous appearance of Osama on television to solidify Bush's one substantive (though phony) advantages with voter opinion in the last days of the campaign, the pure slander of the Swift Boat Veterans and their commandant, Karl Rove, and the rigging of the electoral process in Ohio and many other places.

Even so, Bush was delivered no mandate in that election. The tissue of lies, conspiracies, brutality, and manipulation that the administration used to construct the pretext for Bush's supposed "popularity" as a "wartime president" has become more and more obvious, and its consequences more and more ugly and sickening -- say, as we approach the 1800th American military KIA in Iraq. And now, at the beginning of a furious wave of nausea and recognition about to break on Mr. Bush's shore, as he twists and lies furiously through proxies and even in person to evade taking any responsibility for the treasonous conduct of his "architect," this crew cynically schemes a 9 PM surprise announcement, complete with deflecting leaks and arrogant posturing right out of the dictator's handbook, of a divisive choice for SCOTUS, knowing -- counting on the fact that -- this will change the subject long enough to allow them to regroup and coordinate the next pack of lies. Roberts is not the issue. He seems competent and a good soldier with the predictable views. He's irrelevant. The point is we are deep into a Potemkin Village version of politics as usual here. The emperor's bare ass is waving in the fucking wind. They know time may be short before the law actually touches them, a classic choice faced by nascent dictatorships, and even more brutal measures may soon be called for. They've even heard derisive laughter *at* King George II from the normally whipped and docile mainstream press corps (yesterday, and if you missed it, it was eerie shit to hear Bush endure outright guffaws as he twisted in the wind). Enjoy the feeling of flying through the air for a few more minutes. This shit is about to get very real, one way or the other. These guys are masters at the art of distraction, so if Roberts doesn't hold the media mobs at bay, be sure we'll need to get all worried about "terra" again soon. Maybe they'll even bring in their favorite consultant, you know, the talk guy with the beard and the turban who comes on TV whenever Bush gets in trouble.

It ain't the hard work that the opposition hasn't done; it's the equivalently dirty work.
posted by realcountrymusic at 7:45 PM on July 19, 2005


Incidentally, a law professor told me that at all times throughout history, the SCOTUS's rulings have largely conformed with what a public opinion poll at that time held to be the opinion of "the american people." Obviously, I can't substantiate this and it's probably overstated, but that should give you at least some reassurance about the court overturning roe.

I don't think that's true for social issues at all. From Brown v. Bd of Ed to the interracial marriage ruling in the 60s, and even the contraceptive ruling, etc. And even recently, corporatewise, in the Eminent Domain thing too, the public is clearly mostly against what they ruled.
posted by amberglow at 7:48 PM on July 19, 2005


Why are so many people so livid over stopping a process inside someone? I really cannot understand the mentality.

We must deploy 40K troops to Jessica Linden's uterus!
posted by The Jesse Helms at 7:49 PM on July 19, 2005


Well, I think he might have been specifying the abortion cases (Roe and Casey).

Incidentally and totally unrelated to Roberts or Roe, there's an article by Michael Klarman that says that Brown v. Board of Education was legally insignificant and totally unenforced and was only valuable b/c it caused a racist backlash in the south, which led to the civil rights protests, which led to etc., etc.
posted by kensanway at 7:52 PM on July 19, 2005


if it's just the abortion cases, he may be right, but even there i think they were out front a little. The problem is that we're mutable, and they make laws that aren't.

This won't be an uproar at all, i don't think. CNN's trying to whip it up already tho--i know the home Novak doesn't want to be talking about Rove anymore.
posted by amberglow at 7:53 PM on July 19, 2005


oop-- ...home of Novak ...
posted by amberglow at 7:54 PM on July 19, 2005


Well the thing is that--and I say this with absolutely no empirical data to back me up--Roe really isn't an absolute right, right? And Casey backpedalled away from Roe a lot. For example, it's legally permissible to require parental permission for an abortion (with an exception that the pregnant woman who doesn't want to do this get a court order from a judge who will determine if she is "mature" enough to get an abortion.) So I don't really know if the court has been that far-reaching w/r/t abortion. Maybe w/ Lawrence (the anti-sodomy cases) though.
posted by kensanway at 7:57 PM on July 19, 2005


I don't think that's true for social issues at all.

Actually, I believe there's a sentence in Roe that acknowledges public opinion having shifted in favor of legalized abortion, and how that played (some) role in influencing the court's decision.
posted by scody at 7:57 PM on July 19, 2005


This may have been pointed out above but when Roberts argued against Roe as deputy solicitor general for President George H.W. Bush he WAS NOT necessarily putting forth his own opinion. He was acting as the lawyer for the administration. He was arguing the client's point of view (which is a lawyer's job). If it were an opinion he rendered in his capacity as a judge that would be a completely different situation.
posted by Carbolic at 8:18 PM on July 19, 2005


This country is headed for a disaster of biblical proportions! Human sacrifices, dogs and cats living together! Mass hysteria!

Is it just me, or does Roberts look like Bill Murray?
posted by schroedinger at 8:25 PM on July 19, 2005


And since when have Republicans hired pro-choice Solicitor Generals?
posted by amberglow at 8:29 PM on July 19, 2005


Bill Murray or Roberts?
posted by kensanway at 8:33 PM on July 19, 2005


I don't know if Roberts is pro choice or not. I certainly can't make that determination based upon a case he argued on behalf of another. Johnny Cochran represented OJ. Is he pro murder?
posted by Carbolic at 8:34 PM on July 19, 2005


Realcountrymusic, I feel for you. But here's the truth. Bush didn't beat anyone. His campaign was barely competent.
Democrats beat themselves with their disdain for the values of ordinary Americans, their utter devotion to being a vanguard party of the proper sort looking out for masses not quite yet able to think rightly. Every time John Kerry or Howard Dean opened his mouth Harry Truman must have rolled over in his grave.
posted by MattD at 8:35 PM on July 19, 2005


Or, I should have said "was" he.
posted by Carbolic at 8:35 PM on July 19, 2005


And since when have Republicans hired pro-choice Solicitor Generals?

I know that this is unfamiliar logic to progressives, but: personally believing a law to be misguided or wrong is not the same as believing that law to be unconstitutional. And it's most certainly not the same as believing it to be so unconstitutional that it's worth overturning settled law.
posted by gd779 at 8:35 PM on July 19, 2005


Again, since when have Republicans hired people who believed differently from them on hotbutton social issues that they use to get elected?
posted by amberglow at 8:42 PM on July 19, 2005


While some have gone on about Roberts' personal opinions, including CNN and CBS and the rest of the Old Media, and some here at MeFi. The reality is, Roberts is an unknown. And if he is pro choice or pro life or anti anything, as long as he interprets the constitution rather than legislate from the bench he will have done his job.
I for one am tired of SCOTUS legislating. I don't trust anyone with that much power.
posted by garficher at 8:48 PM on July 19, 2005


Before W is done you'll see Gonzalez and Ashcroft appointed too. And as far as abortions (post-Roe v Wade) go, they'll just have to cross the border like Ward Cleaver's little bitch at the office had to.
posted by spock at 8:48 PM on July 19, 2005






Ah yes, separated at birth!
posted by ericb at 8:49 PM on July 19, 2005


My guess is that Janice Rogers Brown will be the next SCOTUS appointment. The political calculations of this administration are impressive.
posted by Kwantsar at 8:50 PM on July 19, 2005


"John and Jane Roberts"
Could he possibly find anybody more white bread if he tried?
posted by spock at 8:51 PM on July 19, 2005


Bill Murray's going to sit on SCOTUS? What's his position on premarital sex?
posted by mwhybark at 8:52 PM on July 19, 2005


Democrats beat themselves with their disdain for the values of ordinary Americans,

yeah, and they hate "people of faith!"
posted by mcsweetie at 8:52 PM on July 19, 2005


First the Johnny Cochran/Murder analogy I made was a bad one. Second, how many of the present Justices were appointed by Republicans? Has Roe been overruled? Roe may eventually be overruled but I don't believe it will be overruled in such a way that abortion becomes illegal. Many Republicans who object to abortion only object to it being funded by tax dollars. The worst I think we are looking at is a ban on late term abortions and abortions for minors without parental permission. You won't find many people, Republican or otherwise, who believe there should be an outright ban on abortion.
posted by Carbolic at 8:53 PM on July 19, 2005


Democrats beat themselves with their disdain for the values of ordinary Americans

The two candidates were within something like a million and a half votes of each other nationwide. Mighty arrogant indeed (not to mention patronizing) to call the 49 million who voted for Kerry less than "ordinary Americans," or their "values" naturally inferior to the values of the 51 million who voted for Bush. This is, at last, a pure statement of the very politics Bush cynically pledged to want to end in 2000. I am no less an ordinary American, nor my values less considered and principled, than you are. That you fail to acknowledge that is un-American and defames core republican principles. Finally, to return the condescension, you mistake my tone if it inspires your sympathy. Indeed, it is I who "feel for you," because history will prove that those of us who call this administration a criminal enterprise are right. And those of y'all who supported it even when its criminality became transparent will have to live with the shame.
posted by realcountrymusic at 8:54 PM on July 19, 2005


I am only a casual observer of SCOTUS, but a lifetime appointment to a prestigious and powerful position can easily bring out any number of different facets of a man. I wouldn't bet on any decision going a particular way until he's been at it a while, and he has provided his own jurisprudential road map.
posted by birdsquared at 9:19 PM on July 19, 2005


Why couldn't Bill Murray be appointed to the Supreme Court instead?
posted by spinifex23 at 9:23 PM on July 19, 2005


Heh. Oh, my. Roberts.

Watch. And consider anew Bush's oft-repeated lie about being a uniter.

Democrats beat themselves with their disdain for the values of ordinary Americans...

'Course, realcountrymusic, a lot of these righty folks who bleat hypocritically about "the values of ordinary Americans" seem to think hatred and bigotry are actual American values, so you can see where they might be more than just a tad befuddled on them there "values" issues. More's the pity.
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 9:37 PM on July 19, 2005


for all your partisan gun-slinging, point-talking, AIM buddy icon needs

posted by trinarian at 9:52 PM on July 19, 2005


Heh. Even though I argue with Amberglow and Realcountrymusic, and the rest of you libs here, it's nice to have a project that we can all work together on...
posted by klangklangston at 10:18 PM on July 19, 2005


Also, where will Republicans go for their abortions?

If you're middle class or better, a trip abroad is affordable and feasible.

Abortion can't be banned for anybody but the lower class.
posted by mosch at 11:06 PM on July 19, 2005


Roe should be overruled. It's a stupid decision. Trimesters are meaningless.

To quote one of your posts: "Go fuck off."
posted by mosch at 11:15 PM on July 19, 2005


think hatred and bigotry are actual American values, so you can see where they might be more than just a tad befuddled on them there "values" issues. More's the pity.

Concur, and it's amazing to me. Someone upthread referred to me as a "lib." I'm actually a registered independent, with a wide libertarian streak on social issues. I think any clear thinking American, conservatives very much included, has to look at this administration as an abomination of "core American values." In the end, at long last, they have no decency sir. Decency is a core American value. Its betrayal undermines everything else in civic life. Harry Truman was a bastard, but he was a decent bastard. Bush is an indecent bastard.

And we're seeing the results of a decades long plan to divide Americans by "values" (in fact, by class, race, region, religion, and any other "identity" distinction that can be drummed into service -- making the right wing the real practitioners of "identity politics" in this country). The right has learned to market hate as a salve for fear. They've been doing it for years -- in the south, at least, this includes the era when Democrats represented "the right." The politics of fear and bigotry has a distinguished history, but has never been practiced with more cynical precision than by these anti-American bastards in the administration.

I have four words for them, words they used to spout regularly as if they meant them: the rule of law.
posted by realcountrymusic at 11:35 PM on July 19, 2005


think hatred and bigotry are actual American values, so you can see where they might be more than just a tad befuddled on them there "values" issues. More's the pity.

Concur, and it's amazing to me. Someone upthread referred to me as a "lib." I'm actually a registered independent, with a wide libertarian streak on social issues. I think any clear thinking American, conservatives very much included, has to look at this administration as an abomination of "core American values." In the end, at long last, they have no decency sir. Decency is a core American value. Its betrayal undermines everything else in civic life. Harry Truman was a bastard, but he was a decent bastard. Bush is an indecent bastard.

And we're seeing the results of a decades long plan to divide Americans by "values" (in fact, by class, race, region, religion, and any other "identity" distinction that can be drummed into service -- making the right wing the real practitioners of "identity politics" in this country). The right has learned to market hate as a salve for fear. They've been doing it for years -- in the south, at least, this includes the era when Democrats represented "the right." The politics of fear and bigotry has a distinguished history, but has never been practiced with more cynical precision than by these anti-American bastards in the administration.

I have four words for them, words they used to spout regularly as if they meant them: the rule of law.
posted by realcountrymusic at 11:35 PM on July 19, 2005


Does anyone have any hard facts about Roberts' stand on GLBT issues?
posted by jiawen at 11:36 PM on July 19, 2005


The enviromental record is frightening. Same for civil rights. Most anything Reagan I applaud, just because I remember Carter and double digit inflation. What his name seems a little too extreme for me, and a little ?young? also. I think nominee #1 has been following too much, and has no mind of his own = next please.
posted by buzzman at 11:39 PM on July 19, 2005


From MoveOn.org:

Here's a list of some of the things that make Roberts the wrong pick for the Supreme Court:

* Wrong on environmental protection: Roberts appears to want to limit the scope of the Endangered Species Act, and in papers he wrote while in law school he supported far-right legal theories about "takings" which would make it almost impossible for the government to enforce most environmental legislation.

* Wrong on civil rights: Roberts worked to keep Congress from defending parts of the Voting Rights Act.

* Wrong on human rights: As a appeals court judge, Roberts ruled that the Geneva Convention doesn't apply to some prisoners of war.

* Wrong on our right to religious freedom: Roberts argued that schools should be able to impose religious speech on attendees.

* Wrong on women's rights: Roberts wrote that "Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided and should be overruled." He also weighed in on behalf of Operation Rescue, a violent anti-abortion group, in a federal case.

President Bush could have chosen many fair-minded and independent jurists to replace Sandra Day O'Connor. Instead, he chose a corporate partisan loved by Bush's right-wing base but out of step with the rest of the country.
posted by muckster at 12:33 AM on July 20, 2005


muckster, with regards to the "schools should be able to impose religious speech", do you know where I could read more?
posted by SAC at 1:02 AM on July 20, 2005


Does anyone have any hard facts about Roberts' stand on GLBT issues?

not hard facts--there are very very little on Roberts' stands on any issue at all, but here's what's at stake. And here's the HRC's take.
posted by amberglow at 5:44 AM on July 20, 2005


a little more from HRC.

It seems that if a Judge would put the Government's rights over our individual rights, then we're in trouble (as Roberts did with the detainees, and with a case where a kid was arrested for eating fries on the DC Metro)
...• In Hedgepeth v. Wash. Metro. Area Transit Auth. (2004), Roberts rejected the civil rights claims brought on behalf of a 12-year-old girl who had been handcuffed, arrested and taken away by police for eating a single French fry in the D.C. Metro. Roberts rejected the claim that the girl's equal protection rights had been violated by a DC law that only would have required an adult in the same situation to be given a citation, instead of being arrested.
• In Acree v. Republic of Iraq (2004), a suit filed against the Republic of Iraq and Saddam Hussein by seventeen American soldiers who had been captured and tortured during the Gulf War, Roberts argued in dissent that the courts did not have jurisdiction to hear the case. Had he prevailed, the soldiers would have been deprived of any possible relief in court. ...

posted by amberglow at 5:49 AM on July 20, 2005


Wow. That is grasping at straws. In Hedgepeth, Roberts simply affirmed the decision by one of the most liberal judges on the district court.

And in Acree, do you think it is crazy that American soliders (or soliders of any country, for that matter) are not allowed to file lawsuits against the leader and soldiers of countries that they fight? If I recall correctly, the soldiers' remedies are provided by our government, not the enemy's -- at least not through a tort suit in federal court.
posted by esquire at 7:01 AM on July 20, 2005


According to National Review, Tribe also said that that "it would be a 'bum rap' to hold Robert’s language from his brief recommending the overturning Roe against him, given his role as an advocate for his client."
posted by Kwantsar at 7:38 AM on July 20, 2005


This would be funny (in the laugh at people who are embarrassing themselves way) if it wasn't so petty and suggestive of how vile this confirmation process could become.

But watching people, who apparently lack any understanding of the law, judicial opinions, judicial process, or the function of advocacy, grasping at straws to try to tarnish this man is pathetically funny. All we know about Roberts is that he is a talented and respected advocate and jurist. We know nothing about his substantive views, and we shouldn't. "What's his views on LGBT issues?" Who gives a rat's ass! We don't know his LGBT views, and we shouldn't. What are his personal views on abortion? Who cares! A judge can be pro-life or pro-choice and it shouldn't effect his views on abortion jurisprudence. It is entirely possible to be pro-choice and agree that, as a legal opinion, Roe is terrible and pernicious. (Many constitutional laws scholars hold that very view). The inverse is possible as well. As such, his personal views are irrelevant. The only relevant inquiry is understanding of the function of the Court.

The function of the judge is not to be an advocate of a position. The function of a judge is to interpret statutes and written law. A judge should fail on his own merits if he ever mentioned that he rule for ____ interest whenever a case implicating that interest come before him. To see people suggest opinions (which they don't even understand) somehow mean that a person believes something is bullshit on stilts.

amberglow and the rest: you don't have one single clue about anything with this guy. You are spewing stuff which only makes you look foolish. Trying to smear this guy reduces any credibility you might have when a truly objectionable judge does get nominated.
posted by dios at 7:44 AM on July 20, 2005


Point of interest...

Main Entry: in·ter·pret
Pronunciation: in-'t&r-pr&t, -p&t
Function: verb
1 : to explain or tell the meaning of : present in understandable terms
2 : to conceive in the light of individual belief, judgment, or circumstance : CONSTRUE


Additionally, playing the "you don't understand the law, you peons!" card is not only condescending, it's counterproductive to discussion. I'm not saying that "Bush nominated him, he must be evil!" isn't counterproductive, either.
posted by trey at 8:10 AM on July 20, 2005


Additionally, playing the "you don't understand the law, you peons!" card is not only condescending

Yeah. Seriously, Dios, we already know you're a lawyer. Don't rub it in.

That being said, I think Dios has a point. A good justice shouldn't be deciding cases based on his personal views, but on his knowledge and understanding of constitutional law. The question we should be asking this nominee is not "What are your beliefs", but rather "Will you be able to set your beliefs aside and decide cases based purely on legality".
posted by unreason at 8:20 AM on July 20, 2005


From everything I've been reading, Roberts seems like a fair, solid judge (not to mention a BRILLIANT attorney) and a great nominee. I'm glad he's been nominated. But then again, I'm one of the 58 million stupid Americans who voted for GW, so I must not know a thing about Supreme Court nominees or judicial excellence anyway.
posted by Micah at 8:22 AM on July 20, 2005


trey: it's not condescending to suggest that people are behaving in a manner that shows they don't understand the function of advocacy or the judicial process.

To say "He wrote this brief, so that is his position" is just grand mal ignorance. To say "Here is his opinion which deprived a poor girl of his civil rights" without making a serious inquiry as to what the issue on appeal was, what the law was, and what the facts of the case were, shows that a person does not understand anything about the judicial process beyond outcome-based analysis.

Every single thing I have seen, so far, that is posited as a "position" by Roberts shows a fundamental misunderstanding of what was going on in each instance.

One would think that when Tribe, David Boies, and former general counsels for Democratic presidents say that the guy is qualified and there isn't anything to show otherwise, people would listen to the experts and not try to create false positions out of whole cloth by relying on mischaracterizations of legal action. It's foolish on their part, and its not condescending to point that out.
posted by dios at 8:25 AM on July 20, 2005


Yeah. Seriously, Dios, we already know you're a lawyer. Don't rub it in.

Huh? I haven't mentioned anything about myself in this thread. I didn't ask people to take my word for it or anything of the like.
posted by dios at 8:29 AM on July 20, 2005


dios: While I agree that there is a lot of knee-jerk going on, I think to default to the position of "listen to the experts, you don't know what you're talking about" is dangerous. Americans have every right to question this nomination every step along the way -- indeed it is their duty to do so. I say this regardless of party or ideology.

Now, I agree that it is disingenuous to claim to know where a person stands on the issues without a lot of background information. Past opinions written by Roberts seem to indicate conflicting views (at least with respect to Roe). As such, people are reading what they want to read and running with it.

We all agree that justices should rule according to the law and not according to personal beliefs. Note that this is a big SHOULD. A close scrutiny of any judge's past is necessary to determine if he or she is in fact able to do this.
posted by trey at 8:30 AM on July 20, 2005


Here is what Justice O'Connor had to say about her replacement:

Her first words were unequivocal: “That’s fabulous!” she said. She immediately described John G. Roberts as a “brilliant legal mind, a straight shooter, articulate, and he should not have trouble being confirmed by October. He’s good in every way, except he’s not a woman."
posted by gd779 at 8:32 AM on July 20, 2005


Dios: you must not be talking about me, dude.
posted by esquire at 8:45 AM on July 20, 2005


We can bitch and moan all we want about how conservative this guy is, but unless something really hairy arises out of his background he will get confirmed. Bush is going to appoint a conservative, and if this guy doesn't make it the next one will be just as, if not more, conservative.

Ann Coulter has come out strongly against him. [The anncoulter.com link may not be working but you can read about it here for a short while.] I guess he is not conservative enough for some wackos.
posted by caddis at 9:00 AM on July 20, 2005


dios: While I agree that there is a lot of knee-jerk going on, I think to default to the position of "listen to the experts, you don't know what you're talking about" is dangerous.

I disagree, to an extent. While you are right that we shouldn't listen to experts and accept their views unthinkingly, there are times when people with specialized knowledge should be listened to. The law is technical in many respects. When my electrician comes into my house and says "those wires are live, I wouldn't touch them," it behooves me to listen to him because I don't know anything about that and its a technical thing that I'm not likely to understand without a lot of knowledge. Similarly if it was a physics question. I think if this was a scientific question, people would listen to the experts on a technical point.

The problem with the law, and to a lesser (or greater?) extent, medicine, is that some people know just enough about the subjects that they think they know the subject. So, for instance, people can understand the words that were in that Rusk brief, but they don't seem to understand the reason that those words were there. The existence of that statement and of the brief itself is somewhat of a technical issue: one has to know what the case was about, what point of law or issue was on appeal, why the United States submitted the argument for that purpose, what the technical argument is regarding why Roe should be overturned (because it lacks a constitutional basis? it was activism? a disagreement with the penumbra approach? something other than the question of abortion?), and what was the function of the authors of the brief. It's a technical point. But when someone just says "He said Roe should be overturned so that means he thinks abortion is wrong" is such a gross misunderstanding of the issue, that it would behoove one to listen to an expert who can look beyond the outcome-based analysis and say "that isn't a fair analysis of what was going on there." In that regard, you should listen to Tribe, Boies, etc. on that technical point, just as you should listen to a physicist on a point of quantum mechanics.

So, take the Hedgepeth case as thrown out above. Someone who can't see beyond the outcome of the decision ("little girls civil rights claim was denied") is missing outcome-determinative technical points of procedure and law. Before you even being to analyze an appellate decision, one has to know many things. What was the procedural posture? Is the court's standard of review de novo? Was an abuse of discretion review? Was there a justiciable controversy? What are the facts? Was error preserved? Was the appeal perfected? Is there standing? Is the suit ripe? Did the plaintiff fall within a protected class? Was there a fundamental right at issue? Was the case dismissed for a procedural point at trial? Etc. One has to know a lot about a case when analyzing an opinion, and a judge has to take all these things into consideration. An appeal is very rarely a situation where the appellate court is looking at the case as a jury would and deciding who it should go. It is usually a very technical argument going on. This nuance is completely ignored when one looks only at the outcome. Understanding all of the procedural points and judicial requirements is essential in the analysis of an opinion. And as it is unlikely that lay people understand them (most lawyers barely do) one should probably listen to experts on the subject when they do analysis on the television.

So I disagree with you to the extent you are suggesting that experts should be ignored on technical points of law. If an expert pipes up that abortion is bad, yeah, don't listen to that guy. Make your own opinion because that is a policy decision.
posted by dios at 9:22 AM on July 20, 2005


dios: Thanks for a well-written and reasonable response. I agree with most of the points you are making but I feel as if you are misrepresenting my position a bit. I wasn't saying that we should never listen to on matters of law. I'm a graduate student in the sciences myself so I am well aware of the scope of knowledge that is sometimes required to fully understand an issue ; however, I also know how often experts like to hide behind the veil of expertise to avoid having to engage in discourse with someone whom they deem uninformed or uneducated -- or even to avoid havingg to admit that the matter may not be as complicated as they've made it out to be.

I agree with many of the points you are making, and (if I am interpreting you correctly) you are saying that we don't know enough about these opinions and briefs to really figure out what this guy's personal beliefs are and should wait and see or let the experts hash it out. I think that the opposite side of the coin is just as valid -- we don't know enough about these opinions and briefs to really figure out what this guy's personal beliefs are and therefore should do everything in our power to make sure that his personal beliefs won't cloud his judgment or interpretation of the law.

I feel as if both are equally viable strategies.
posted by trey at 9:30 AM on July 20, 2005


er... "... do everything in our power to find out more about him to make sure..."
posted by trey at 9:31 AM on July 20, 2005


Ann Coulter's site won't work for me...
Wow, never thought I'd be complaining about that...
posted by klangklangston at 9:33 AM on July 20, 2005


(Dios: Good job in this thread, and in that Metachronic [or whatever the theologian was called] thread.)
posted by klangklangston at 9:34 AM on July 20, 2005


dios writes "Roberts is that he is a talented and respected advocate and jurist."

I thought Republicans were against advocate judges? ;)

I heard an old buddy of Roberts on PBS last night use the exact same term.
posted by terrapin at 9:41 AM on July 20, 2005


Dang, I had my outrage all ready to roll out and let it bloom into a full on furious rant. But, from initial appearances this guy doesn't seem to bad. The main issue with him has to do with Roe V. Wade? Its a big issue but I understand he's not quite set in a repeal, is this crazy or wrong?

I propose we keep our eye on him anyway though, just in case.

I like the fact that he's a very, very smart guy and has experience arguing cases in front of the Supreme Court. That and I went to high school (just like everyone else) with a John Roberts.
posted by fenriq at 10:16 AM on July 20, 2005


The guy is clearly a Republican, and it's obvious that he holds some very Republican beliefs... but does anybody know of a website where I can find a review of what this guy has actually done right/wrong (in terms of acting as an activist judge) written by qualified experts? (Ideally, I'd also like to read a similar review of existing Supreme Court Judges for comparison's sake)

As damning as a thumbs up from freerepublic.com is, I sincerely doubt that they've stopped being idiots overnight.
posted by mosch at 10:23 AM on July 20, 2005


just to clarify some of the statements that fall loosely under the "where will Republicans go for their abortions?" heading.

Canada is not the answer (or at least not in most cases). If Roe were overturned, that wouldn't make abortion illegal outright in the US. What it would mean is that the Federal courts would not intervene if state legislatures tried to outlaw abortion. The practical effect? Abortion might be outlawed in some "Red" states, and would be likely to remain legal in most "Blue" states.

This *would* have the effect of skewing access to abortion for people living in conservative, abortion-banning states towards privilege and money: access to abortion would be limited to those with the resources and wherewithal to travel to a state where abortion was permitted.
posted by oldben at 11:19 AM on July 20, 2005


This would be funny (in the laugh at people who are embarrassing themselves way) if it wasn't so petty and suggestive of how vile this confirmation process could become.

But watching people, who apparently lack any understanding of the law, judicial opinions, judicial process, or the function of advocacy, grasping at straws to try to tarnish this man is pathetically funny.


Why is it not enough for you to make a cogent argument? Why must you start off by showing your contempt for the people involved in the discussion?
posted by anapestic at 11:36 AM on July 20, 2005


access to abortion would be limited to those with the resources and wherewithal to travel to a state where abortion was permitted.

Not even that, really, as NARAL (or whatever they're calling themselves these days) and Planned Parenthood would likely buy women in Red States a free bus ticket if they asked.
posted by gd779 at 11:41 AM on July 20, 2005


How can anyone suggest that someone with only two years actual experience as a judge is the most qualified person to be on the Supreme Court? I've been a member of MetaFilter for three years; can I join the ICANN board now?
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 12:01 PM on July 20, 2005


Two years of experience on the federal Court of Appeals is not insignificant, and is more than quite a few Justices. Many Justices had no judicial experience whatsoever, including Rehnquist, Powell, Fortas, Goldberg, White, Warren, Clark, Burton, Byrnes, Stone, Jackson, Douglas, and Frankfurter. And that's just going back to WW2.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 12:12 PM on July 20, 2005


Well, for one, being a judge is not a prerequisite for being on the Court. Earl Warren wasn't one; neither was Rhenquist. That he was a judge at all is an added qualification; not a necessary one.

Secondly, two years is a reasonable time. Souter was on his circuit bench for less; the same with O'Connor and Thomas.

Third, he would be eminently qualified for the position without having served at all. Look at his credentials; they are right there. If he isn't qualified, then who is?
posted by dios at 12:17 PM on July 20, 2005


Or, what monju said.
posted by dios at 12:18 PM on July 20, 2005


I'm not sure what else anyone was expecting as far as a pick goes. I can think of much worse people that could have been nominated, and while I don't doubt that Roberts is very conservative, he also seems like he's not only intelligent but has the respect of some intelligent folks. From everything that I've seen it would seem to be a real mistake to make a big issue of Roberts during the confirmation process. That kind of thing can easily backfire, and I think that Bush decided on a safe choice, someone who would advance his agenda but who is relatively unknown and therefore hard to counter. Still, I'm hopeful that this man has depths and nuances to his thought that have not yet been seen, and that he will make a great justice. I don't expect it, but I do hope it's the case...what else is there to do in this case?
posted by OmieWise at 12:33 PM on July 20, 2005


Aside from his published desire to overturn Roe v. Wade, are there other serious grievances against Roberts? Not that Roe v. Wade isn't enough but I want to make sure I'm not missing anything.
posted by fenriq at 12:57 PM on July 20, 2005


Dios, thanks for making some excellent points. While we don't always agree, I'm always pleased to see a well-reasoned conservative argument in these blue pages (I hope I don't offend by calling it such - I used the little "c").

The thing that I find most disturbing in the majority of the statements against Roberts here is that there seems to be a pretty definite litmus test for federal judges on the left, and it seems, more often than not, to deal with our perception of a nominee's personal beliefs or how that nominee will rule on a specific issue. That approach doesn't lend itself to confirming good decision-makers.
posted by rush at 1:01 PM on July 20, 2005


Question for the experts: If the recent DC Circuit's decision in the Hamdan case (which Roberts didn't author, but joined) comes before the Supremes next term, is there any reason he should recuse himself? It's a hot-button issue these days and implicates the Hamdi and Padilla holdings from last term.
posted by Cletis at 1:04 PM on July 20, 2005


Two things...there was a page on Oyez with audio from his trials which I found via ResourceShelf, but they are down now.

Secondly, is there a litmus test for nominees from the right regarding abortion? Or a persons right to privacy?
posted by rzklkng at 1:06 PM on July 20, 2005


fenriq, there's the french fry bit with th little girl. There's the Geneva Convention ruling. People for the American Way (PFAW) has some partisan commentary on his judicial record.
posted by rzklkng at 1:10 PM on July 20, 2005


SCOTUSBLOG has the calendar for the upcoming session.

Here's what's up for grabs:

Soveignity of the Indian Nation, Educational Assistance for Disabled Children, Free Speech protections for Public Employees on the Job, Gov't liability for failure to conduct safety inspections, Miranda (Rights) protections, the garnishment of Social Security income (for student loans), police searches and the sanctity of marriages, university funds and allowing access to military recruiters, ability of federal workers to sue their employers.

Of course there's more, but these are the only ones that I had any idea as to the implications.
posted by rzklkng at 1:26 PM on July 20, 2005


Well, for one, being a judge is not a prerequisite for being on the Court. Earl Warren wasn't one; neither was Rhenquist. That he was a judge at all is an added qualification; not a necessary one.

Secondly, two years is a reasonable time. Souter was on his circuit bench for less; the same with O'Connor and Thomas.

Points well taken, but O'Connor had previous non-Federal judicial experience and Warren was a former Attorney General and Governor, both Executive positions requiring enforcement of active laws. While working as an associate for two various executive positions, Roberts' biography appears to be significantly private practice work- a position which only a year ago the party backing Roberts claimed made John Edwards lacking in qualifications to be Vice-President. Furthermore, citing Rehnquist or Warren seems strange in the context of discussion a candidate that both parties would support- they seem in their later days to be the respective villains of each party. And I don't accept Thomas as an example of a qualified candidate outright.

Again, I'll note I didn't day he wasn't qualified; I asked how it can be rationalized he's the most qualified. There certainly seem to be others that even right-wingers threw out with a better list of experience.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 1:53 PM on July 20, 2005


This stuff gets even more ridiculous.

From rzklkng's link to "partisan commetary on his judicial record" we get this analysis:
"Roberts has issued troubling dissents from decisions by the full D.C. Circuit not to reconsider two important rulings. These included a decision upholding the constitutionality of the Endangered Species Act as applied in a California case"

I guess these people don't realize the opinion is out there. We can read it. Here is the entire dissent, and those who think this man is a danger, please explain what you object to in it:

Roberts, Circuit Judge, dissenting from denial of rehearing en banc:
The panel's opinion in effect asks whether the challenged regulation substantially affects interstate commerce, rather than whether the activity being regulated does so. Thus, the panel sustains the application of the Act in this case because Rancho Viejo's commercial development constitutes interstate commerce and the regulation impinges on that development, not because the incidental taking of arroyo toads can be said to be interstate commerce. See Rancho Viejo, LLC v. Norton, 323 F.3d 1062, 1071-73.

Such an approach seems inconsistent with the Supreme Court's holdings in United States v. Lopez, 514 U.S. 549 (1995) and United States v. Morrison, 529 U.S. 598 (2000). The Court in those cases upheld facial Commerce Clause challenges to legislation prohibiting the possession of firearms in school zones and violence against women. Given United States v. Salerno, 481 U.S. 739 (1987), such a facial challenge can succeed only if there are no circumstances in which the Act at issue can be applied without violating the Commerce Clause. Under the panel's approach in this case, however, if the defendant in Lopez possessed the firearm because he was part of an interstate ring and had brought it to the school to sell it, or the defendant in Morrison assaulted his victims to promote interstate extortion, then clearly the challenged reg- ulations in those cases would have substantially affected interstate commerce, and the facial Commerce Clause challenges would have failed.

That is precisely what the Fifth Circuit concluded recently in rejecting the approach the panel took in this case. See GDF Realty Inv., Ltd. v. Norton, 326 F.3d 622, 634-35 (5th Cir. 2003). As the Fifth Circuit explained, "looking primarily beyond the regulated activity ... would 'effectually obliterate' the limiting purpose of the Commerce Clause," and, under such an approach, "the facial challenges in Lopez and Morrison would have failed." Id.

The panel's approach in this case leads to the result that regulating the taking of a hapless toad that, for reasons of its own, lives its entire life in California constitutes regulating "Commerce ... among the several States." U.S. Const. art. I, § 8, cl. 3. To be fair, the panel faithfully applied National Association of Home Builders v. Babbitt, 130 F.3d 1041 (D.C. Cir. 1997). En banc review is appropriate because the approach of the panel in this case and NAHB now conflicts with the opinion of a sister circuit - a fact confirmed by that circuit's quotation from the NAHB dissent. See GDF Realty, 326 F.3d at 636 (quoting NAHB, 130 F.3d at 1067 (Sentelle, J., dissenting)). Such review would also afford the opportuni- ty to consider alternative grounds for sustaining application of the Act that may be more consistent with Supreme Court precedent. See Rancho Viejo, LLC v. Norton, 323 F.3d at 1067-68 n.2.


Ok, those who want to argue this guy has troubling positions, fire away. Show me the concern with this opinion.
posted by dios at 1:57 PM on July 20, 2005


It's going to be very hard to derail Roberts' nomination, because he has a fabulous academic record and a good reputation from lawyers and judges that know him.

The problem with him is mainly that he's the (C)onservatives' dream guy-- extremely young, so he'll be influencing the law for a long time and by all appearances a true believer for the cause of (R)ight.

If Bush had appointed a nut it would be much easier to mobilize against him and in favor of a more moderate jurist. This guy is not a nut, but he is conservative. I think the far right just got their money's worth out of W-- it's a brilliant pick from their perspective.
posted by norm at 2:03 PM on July 20, 2005


Hmm.

So the other case listed by the People for the American as "a troubling dissent" is the In re Cheney case.

"Judge Roberts was one of the dissenters in the court's 5-3 denial of a petition for rehearing en banc (with one judge not participating) filed by the Bush Administration in its continuing efforts to avoid releasing records pertaining to Vice President Cheney's energy task force."

Read that. Judge Roberts voted that the petition for rehearing should be granted. The majority disagreed. Funny thing: that ruling was appealed to the Supreme Court. Know what happened? The Supreme Court said that Roberts was right and remanded the case to be reheard.

This guy is dangerous!
posted by dios at 2:36 PM on July 20, 2005


By the way, the Supreme Court judges that agreed with Roberts in the Cheney case were: Kennedy, Rehnquist, Stevens, O'Connor, Breyer, Scalia and Thomas.

I'm sure some of you "Roberts is troubling" people can explain how his ruling could be so troubling that it got 7 of the justices to agree with him.
posted by dios at 2:40 PM on July 20, 2005


Secondly, is there a litmus test for nominees from the right regarding abortion? Or a persons right to privacy?
- rzklkng

For many on the right, there certainly is a litmus test for nominees regarding abortion. If any on the right have a litmus test for judges that applies to privacy, they would be a very small minority, there are no statistics to indicate their existence, and I haven't met any of them. In either case, I would argue that neither of those are effective criteria for selecting judges.

If one's view is that a litmus test on the right justifies or is nullified by a litmus test on the left, then I would bring up the whole two-wrongs-and-a-right thing, and pray for reason to break like dawn.
posted by rush at 2:42 PM on July 20, 2005


Clarification: I'm not necessarily saying that you share the view in question in the last paragraph, rzklkng.

Sorry for the confusion.
posted by rush at 2:43 PM on July 20, 2005


Clarification: Now that I see you've restarted the debate in a FPP with a partisan straw-man jab, I'm not necessarily saying that you are looking for an actual dialogue, either.
posted by rush at 3:17 PM on July 20, 2005


bipartisan, polite words from the RudePundit:
John Roberts, the Stealth Motherfucker:
The Rude Pundit predicted it - he knew that President Bush would nominate a motherfucker for the Supreme Court, but that was easy because, well, Bush always picks motherfuckers. The kinda discomfiting thing about John G. Roberts, formerly know as Ken Starr's ball washer and poor fuckin' schmo who couldn't get comfirmed for a circuit court at the end of Bush I's term, is how quietly creepy a motherfucker Roberts is. Like Jeffrey Dahmer before him, Roberts looks like a normal, if a bit out there, guy. But, oh, once you open the refrigerator, who knows what horrors will be found.
posted by matteo at 3:24 PM on July 20, 2005


Also, where will Republicans go for their abortions?

They'll do what they always did before abortion was made legal. They'll go to a nice, clean, safe hospital where their doctor will fudge the paperwork, saying the patient is booked for a D&C (dilation & cutterage). No need to cross state or intercontinental borders, unless you're not rich or powerful of course.
posted by zarah at 4:31 PM on July 20, 2005


kiss it all goodbye.
posted by brandz at 6:14 PM on July 20, 2005


rush, privacy is the mechanism that enables Roe v. Wade to stand, and is what we all lose through it's weakening...
posted by rzklkng at 7:30 PM on July 20, 2005


Don't forget that the press likes him, or at least is disposed not to hate him -- Roberts is famously open with journalists. From ABC's The Note today:
The factor we think most likely to ensure Judge Roberts' confirmation: that the Washington establishment, and the media establishment, know him and like him. Do not underestimate how hard it will be for Democrats to tar a potential nominee who has given working Washington journalists his cell phone number and who is generally seen as a mensch.
This will definitely shape how the nomination battles are presented.
posted by Vidiot at 7:55 PM on July 20, 2005


rzklkng writes "the garnishment of Social Security income (for student loans)"

Geez you'd think that once you are old enough to collect SS the goverment would have given up on collecting on your student loans.

dios writes "Ok, those who want to argue this guy has troubling positions, fire away. Show me the concern with this opinion."

dios only complete partisan hacks are going to disagree with every single opinion a guy on the other side has.
posted by Mitheral at 6:45 AM on July 21, 2005


dios only complete partisan hacks are going to disagree with every single opinion a guy on the other side has.
posted by Mitheral at 6:45 AM PST on July 21


Read the thread.

There is no short supply of partisan hacks in this thread who have already stated this guy is problematic without any base for it. And since the one link making the argument against him was addressing the cited opinion, it is only proper that the mindless hacks in this thread attempt to back up some of the drivel they have spewed here and actually make an argument about what is wrong with Robert's judicial ability.
posted by dios at 7:09 AM on July 21, 2005


Metafilter: HREF="partisan hack"
posted by realcountrymusic at 1:49 PM on July 21, 2005


How gay is this guy?



Anne Coulter's against him too.
posted by amberglow at 4:16 PM on July 21, 2005


rude pundit: ... Man, oh, man, after reading the lengthy profile of him in today's New York Times, the Rude Pundit just wants to fuck Supreme Court nominee John Roberts because, holy motherfuck and sweet heaven on earth, how could you not wanna fuck the shit out of someone who is so goddamned straight and upstanding and craps strict constitutionalism and leaps tall buildings in a single bound and fights for truth, justice and the American way. C'mon, straight or gay, ya gotta wanna fuck Superman, right? And, until alien men of steel appear in the farm towns of the USA, all we've got is Roberts, father, son, lawyer, Catholic, husband, and, oh, god, the Rude Pundit gets hard thinkin' about someone sooooo good tellin' him who he can marry and what he's allowed to say and, slap us some more, Johnny, where he can legally place his penis, which oughta be in Roberts' Harvard-educated mouth.
...
Oh, but there's more: Roberts played uber-lesbian Peppermint Patty in the school play, he apparently looks good in athletic shorts, beloved by the Christian right, so much so that James Dobson himself bestowed blessings upon Big John. ...

posted by amberglow at 4:37 PM on July 21, 2005


Robert's Iran-Contra Connection: He was referred to White House political aide John Roberts, who in turn directed him to Miller, a private public relations consultant who ran a firm known as International Business Communications (IBC).3 According to Channell, Roberts told him that Miller and his partner Frank Gomez ``are the White House -- outside the White House.' 4
...
(From the Walsh Iran-Contra Report)
posted by amberglow at 4:40 PM on July 21, 2005


Orrin Hatch compares Roberts to, um, Jesus, and urges the nominee to refuse answers to any questions. No link to the transcript from Hatch's Fox News Channel appearance yesterday:
I think senators can ask any questions they want. I've said, no matter how dumb the question may be. But the, the nominee doesn't have to answer them and he should not, under the canons of judicial ethics, he should not answer questions on any issue that possibly would come before the Supreme Court. ... So it's a little bit like Biblical Pharisees, you know, who basically are always trying to undermine Jesus Christ, you know, it goes on the same way. If they can catch him in something, they can then criticize -- and the outside groups will go berserk. ... We knew that just no matter who it was -- it could be the greatest person in the world, and Roberts is, is that -- they would come out against him.

Republicans are really afraid of airing Roberts' views on the issues. Really, really, afraid.

posted by amberglow at 5:35 PM on July 21, 2005


ThinkProgress's Supreme Court Extra has a lot more.
posted by amberglow at 7:44 PM on July 21, 2005


amberglow, instead of just linking to other people who articulate some vague and generalized objection to Roberts, how about you specifically articulate what are your objections to the Judge's jurisprudence. State, in your own words, what is your problem with what he has written. Explain why you think that the Canons of Judicial Ethics are wrong and that a judge should answer questions on how he would decide cases before he sees them.

Make ANY argument other than "a whole of people have a whole lot of generalized and unspecific objections to this guy."
posted by dios at 7:29 AM on July 22, 2005


Republicans are really afraid of airing Roberts' views on the issues. Really, really, afraid.

To say this is to completely warp the conservative (read:Constitutional) concept of a judge's job. All nominees should be encouraged to decline questions that speak to their personal beliefs. While many on the Left feel it's only natural for a judge's personal beliefs to be material in the performance of their duties, that is not the vision of the judiciary that is held dear by conservatives. As previously stated in this thread, what conservatives are looking for is someone that can place aside their personal beliefs, and do the best possible job of interpreting the law.

With that in mind, it's natural for a conservative to encourage a nominee not to get tied up in discussions of personal beliefs, but rather, to focus on how they will approach the job. I would add that conservatives in general, and Hatch in particular, have given this exact same advice to Federal Judiciary nominees that were nominated by Democratic Presidents.
posted by rush at 10:45 AM on July 22, 2005


"...privacy is the mechanism that enables Roe v. Wade to stand, and is what we all lose through it's weakening..."

I disagree on both counts. My understadning is that in Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court invoked the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment. They then expanded on the very same interpretation in Doe v. Bolton. Then there's Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the Court further clarified the restrictions on State laws with the "undue burden" test.

I'm not a con-law guy, so maybe I'm wrong.
posted by rush at 1:23 PM on July 22, 2005


Make ANY argument other than "a whole of people have a whole lot of generalized and unspecific objections to this guy."
He hasn't ruled or written on any issues i care about, except for what i've already linked to. And those statements we have on record are telling. My rights depend on his rulings, for the next 30 years at least. He has to answer questions on past cases and how he would have ruled. He has to lay out who he is and why he deserves a lifetime appointment to the highest court in the nation. The ball's in his court, not mine.

The Supreme Court and the Culture Wars (hnn)--...Official Washington likes to pretend that ideology doesn’t play the role we all know it does. That’s why senators almost never publicly admit that they oppose a nominee on ideological grounds. Far better to oppose Fortas because he had taken large lecture fees from business people likely to have cases before the Court; Haynsworth, because he had heard cases involving companies in which he held stock; Carswell because he may have lied to the Senate about his views on race; Ginsburg because he had smoked dope with his students at Harvard. Only Bork was opposed expressly on ideological grounds once he had been tarred as an extremist. And even Bork was considered unacceptable, said many Democrats, because he had concealed his true beliefs, not because of the beliefs themselves. As wags out it, Bork was guilty of “confirmation conversion.”

The ideological character of the nominees would not matter if the Court was a mere bystander in the culture wars still raging in America. But of course the Court is not a mere bystander. The current Court under conservative leadership is now every bit as activist as the liberal Warren Court conservatives once vowed to reel in. ...

posted by amberglow at 10:02 AM on July 23, 2005


...Republican lawyers who worked on the recount said Wednesday that Roberts advised Gov. Jeb Bush on the role that the governor and the Florida Legislature might play in the recount battle. At the time, when GOP officials feared that Democrat Al Gore might win a recount battle in court, Republican state lawmakers were devising a plan to use their constitutional power to assign the state's electoral votes to George W. Bush -- a proposal criticized by Democrats. ...--Yet More on Roberts's Partisan Activities

And in the comments for that, someone raises the point that given his activities for Bush, wouldn't he have to recuse himself if any case came up about him?
posted by amberglow at 11:57 AM on July 23, 2005


...Supreme Court nominee John G. Roberts Jr. has repeatedly said that he has no memory of belonging to the Federalist Society, but his name appears in the influential, conservative legal organization's 1997-1998 leadership directory.

Having served only two years on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit after a long career as a government and private-sector lawyer, Roberts has not amassed much of a public paper record that would show his judicial philosophy. Working with the Federalist Society would provide some clue of his sympathies. The organization keeps its membership rolls secret, but many key policymakers in the Bush administration are acknowledged current or former members. ...
posted by amberglow at 6:19 AM on July 25, 2005


And this certainly makes him unsuitable: ...The exchange occurred during one of Roberts’ informal discussions with senators last week. According to two people who attended the meeting, Roberts was asked by Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) what he would do if the law required a ruling that his church considers immoral. Roberts is a devout Catholic and is married to an ardent pro-life activist. The Catholic Church considers abortion to be a sin, and various church leaders have stated that government officials supporting abortion should be denied religious rites such as communion. (Pope Benedict XVI is often cited as holding this strict view of the merging of a person’s faith and public duties).

Renowned for his unflappable style in oral argument, Roberts appeared nonplused and, according to sources in the meeting, answered after a long pause that he would probably have to recuse himself.

It was the first unscripted answer in the most carefully scripted nomination in history. It was also the wrong answer. In taking office, a justice takes an oath to uphold the Constitution and the laws of the United States. A judge’s personal religious views should have no role in the interpretation of the laws. (To his credit, Roberts did not say that his faith would control in such a case). ...

posted by amberglow at 5:33 PM on July 25, 2005


Papers Show Roberts as Force In Reagan Era
Papers Show Conservative Advocacy
--...Roberts presented a defense of bills in Congress that would have stripped the Supreme Court of jurisdiction over abortion, busing and school prayer cases; he argued for a narrow interpretation of Title IX, the landmark law that bars sex discrimination in intercollegiate athletic programs; and he even counseled his boss on how to tell the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s widow that the administration was cutting off federal funding for the Atlanta center that bears his name. The documents are from Roberts's 1981-1982 tenure as a special assistant to Attorney General William French Smith....
posted by amberglow at 9:25 PM on July 26, 2005


more: ...To a greater extent than the White House documents previously released, the more than 15,000 pages of Justice Department memos show Roberts speaking at times in his own voice. In memos to the attorney general or senior officials of the Justice Department, Roberts argued for restrictions on the rights of prisoners to litigate their grievances; depicted as "judicial activism" a lower court's order requiring a sign-language interpreter for a hearing-impaired public school student who had already been given a hearing aid and tutors; and argued for wider latitude for prosecutors and police to question suspects out of the presence of their attorneys.

In the rare instances revealed in the documents in which Roberts disagreed with his superiors on the proper legal course to take on major social issues of the day, he advocated a more conservative tack. ...

posted by amberglow at 9:28 PM on July 26, 2005


Supreme Court nominee John Roberts had larger 2000 recount role than previously reported...U.S. Supreme Court nominee John Roberts played a broader behind-the-scenes role for the Republican camp in the aftermath of the 2000 election than previously reported -- as legal consultant, lawsuit editor and prep coach for arguments before the nation's highest court, according to the man who drafted him for the job.

Ted Cruz, a domestic policy advisor for President Bush and who is now Texas' solicitor general, said Roberts was one of the first names he thought of while he and another attorney drafted the Republican legal dream team of litigation "lions" and "800-pound gorillas," which ultimately consisted of 400 attorneys in Florida. ...

posted by amberglow at 5:03 PM on July 27, 2005


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