July 20, 2005

My Thoughts On John Roberts

In a word: Nightmare. The man is fifty years young and has pretty much no record at all to be held to. After Souter I can't believe that the Republicans are going to be so sloppy as to not make sure that their nominee will be in the vein of Scalia, and while I suppose there's always a chance for a Souter Surprise, the chances of it happening a second time around are low. From a strategic point of view, with no record the Dems are going to have to really grill him in the confirmation process, but there are two problems: 1) He could lie, which we can't really do anything about, and 2) Really extensive questioning can be spun against us in the media pretty easily.

Who knows, maybe he's actually a moderate and Bush is saving his super conservative for Rehnquist's seat. The Chief seat is, after all, a lot more important than O'Conner's in setting the direction of the Court. Still, I think it's a little too much to hope for from this White House. No matter how this guy comes down on the issues he's going to camp out in that seat for thirty years, and that's increadibly scary.


Noumena said...

The thing is, we do know a fair amount about the guy by his work as a lawyer, not as a judge: for example, he argued on the winning side in Bush v. Gore, and in many of his appearances before the Supremes he's argued for overturning Roe -- even in situations when the Supremes considered it completely unrelated to the issue at hand. If I recall what I heard on ATC this afternoon, when he appeared in front of the Judicial Committee for his nomination to the DC Circuit Court, he was able to deflect questions about how his own ideology would influences his decisions by pointing out that Circuit Court judges are confined to the law laid down by the Supremes. He should be thoroughly grilled by the Committee this time around, and won't be able to make that dodge. cf the list of questions I linked to below.

MosBen said...

Of course, he can always chalk up her actions as an attorney as zelously advocating his client's position, which is almost certainly what he'll do.

Drew said...

Just to amplify MosBen's point, that is what he'll do, it's also true, and it's also a full and adequate response to the charge. Now, it may be the case that, as a lawyer, he exercised discretion in very telling ways. That's fair game. But you simply cannot attack a guy for positions he espoused as a lawyer while representing a client. That's like criticizing a chauffer because his employer has him drive a gas-guzzling car.

My biggest concern is that his wife is a big muckety-muck in a pro-life organization. That concerns me greatly.

As for the confirmation process, all the Dems can do is ask a boad-range of questions in order to try to get him to put his ideology on the table. They should threaten to filibuster if he stonewalls them, and if he stonewalls them, they should filibuster. But if he wants to consent to an honest and open airing of his views, Dems should proudly and publicly vote "no", and lose this fight with dignity.

MosBen said...

My concern is just that, with no record to speak of, he could lie with impunity.

Vernunft said...

So it turns out, Roberts is a decent, intelligent man who is trying his best to maintain the dignity of the Court.