Saturday, September 17, 2005

A Non-Endorsement

I am hereby officially not endorsing John G. Roberts for Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Let me be very clear: I am not opposed to his confirmation. But given that he set "a whole new standard in nonresponsiveness under questioning," I feel a mere shrug of the shoulders from me is what would please Judge Roberts the most.

I do not buy any of the hysterical assumptions made by my fellow lefties. I don't think he's sexist; if Mrs. Roberts were some nitwitted stay-at-home baby machine, I might worry. But he married a lawyer...and a feminist lawyer at that. Yes, he's a Catholic; but so are Ted Kennedy and John Kerry. He presumably has a moral objection to abortion, though he's twice gone on record as describing Roe v. Wade as "settled law."

He rejected the point of view of right-wing nuts like Rick Santorum -- who claims there is no right to privacy -- and compellingly argued that, while not explicit, a basic right to privacy is strongly implied by the third and fourth amendments. Conservatives tried to spin away his pro bono work on the 1996 Romer v. Evans by saying, as they said of his earlier White House work, that he was merely doing as he was told or asked and such work should not be construed as indicative of Roberts' personal opinions; however, before the Senate this week Roberts said, "if there had been something morally objectionable, I suppose I would have [turned down the request]."

You'd better believe Antonin Scalia would have found something "morally objectionable" to assisting on a case to overturn voter-approved law in Colorado to ban anti-discrimination legislation against gays. And if I might borrow a cogent line of thinking established recently by Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK), if the opposite of "dead" is "alive," then the opposite of "morally objectionable" is...not morally objectionable.

Which leads me to the hearings themselves. As the LA Times observed, "Roberts emerged from the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings as practically the only person who did not look like an ideologue or a blithering idiot." What did the senators expect to achieve? Would the famously composed Roberts have a "Perry Mason moment" and rise thundering, "Yes! Yes, I will overturn Roe! I think sodomites are condemned to hellfire! I single-handedly engineered the 2000 Florida vote!" Maybe they were hoping to uncover video of "Roberts...kicking a wheelchair-bound hurricane victim."

Many liberals seem convinced that his abundant caution and tortuously considered responses are a heavy cloak that he will toss off upon his ascent to the bench where he will assume his true identity. "I am trying to get your feelings as a man," pleaded Dianne Feinstein (D-CA). Has it not occurred to them that maybe, just maybe, as has been his modus operandi for his entire career, he will be an abundantly cautious justice issuing tortuously considered opinions?

The only reason to oppose his nomination is pure partisan bigotry. No, he's most likely not going to become a liberal icon, but he is eminently qualified. To oppose him because his personal views don't toe the liberal line is discrimination, something I thought us bleeding-hearts were supposed to abhor.


Jere said...

The thing is that Democrats, liberals, whathaveyous are NEVER going to like any given person nominated by Bush, no matter who he or she is. Bush could have nominated Oprah and liberals would have found SOMETHING to complain and worry about.

What surprises me is that Roberts has made it this far without some sort of scandal erupting that would threaten to taint the nomination. Apparently the man doesn't cheat on his wife, sexually harass his employees, or employ illegal aliens to babysit his kids. Whoo-Hoo!

True, no one really knows what he thinks about ANYTHING, but isn't the job of a judge to set aside his or her personal views and consider only the arguments put forth in the court?

Roberts is probably the best choice we're going to get from this incompetent administration and the fact that he hasn't self-destructed yet would seem to be proof of that.

Luke said...

Well said.

I am a liberal through and through, but I still understand that the point of a Supreme Court Judge is to interpret the constitution, not satisfy their ideological base (that would be senators and congressmen, who are up for election every 6 or 2 years).

Therefore, the "people's right to know" their opinions is a misguided plea. Any opinion he would throw out during this hearing about a case he has not already ruled on would most likely change when and if the case comes to the Supreme Court because 1) he will hear the entire case argues before him and not second hand 2) he will also get to discuss it with the other justices.

Therefore his current opinion would just be misleading at this point.

Many an appointed judge has failed to walk in lock step with his or her apointee. Therefore, even though his past rulings have leaned a bit right, he seems like a competant, thoughtful man, and not the knee-jerk ideologue some are painting him to be. my only objection is that he is REALLY young and will be on the bench a hellova long time.

Jess said...

Considering the kind of people Bush likes, Roberts seems pretty decent. I hope we're not being completely mislead, but he seems like he'll be an excellent CJ.

Matthew said...

Bravo for being so balanced. I also wish he would be a bit more explicit on his views. Thus far though, he seems OK.