Everyone Likes John Roberts

Republicans and Democrats alike noted Mr. Bush's shrewdness in promoting Mr. Roberts so fast. As the president put it: "For the past two months, members of the United States Senate and the American people have learned about the career and character of Judge Roberts. They like what they see." Journalists have delved deep into his closets without finding anything resembling a skeleton. Liberals find him personally likeable.

This passage from The Economist embodies the conventional wisdom on John Roberts: He's good enough, he's smart enough, and doggone it, people like him.

Though America is infatuated with the affable 50-year-old Court of Appeals judge, we're deciding whether to make a lifelong commitment here. Shouldn't we be in love with him first?

As Chief Justice, Roberts could be handed the keys to the Constitution for the next 30 years -- even longer if scientists figure out how to keep floating heads alive in jars. He may be the swing vote in deciding whether we can refuse end-of-life medical treatment, buy contraception, and bugger each other like minks in the privacy of our homes.

During a conference call I joined with other liberal bloggers last night, Sen. Ted Kennedy made the case for roughing up Roberts during the nomination hearings.

"Our Republican colleagues seem to be working from the same playbook ... he doesn't have to answer any questions," Kennedy said. "We can only wonder why they don't want us to know about him."

Tough questions will be regarded as unfair by conservatives, aside from the small number who join Ann Coulter in believing that Roberts is a stealth nominee as likely to be a Souter as a Scalia.

Though it might make Sen. Coburn cry, Democrats must stand in strong opposition to Roberts until he demonstrates that he deserves the job. There's only one correct answer to the question, "do Americans have a right to privacy?," and it isn't "I won't tell you because I want it to be a surprise."

In 1928, Justice Louis Brandeis was alone on the Supreme Court in believing that the government could not wiretap its citizens without a warrant, writing in dissent:

The makers of our Constitution understood the need to secure conditions favorable to the pursuit of happiness, and the protections guaranteed by this are much broader in scope, and include the right to life and an inviolate personality -- the right to be left alone -- the most comprehensive of rights and the right most valued by civilized men.

We live in the future predicted by Brandeis, who recognized that "the progress of science in furnishing the government with means of espionage is not likely to stop with wire tapping." Roberts must demonstrate, without equivocation, that he will affirm the right of Americans to be left the hell alone.

Anyone who would give him the benefit of the doubt -- in deference to President Bush -- should ask themselves whether an administration that believed Mike Brown could lead the country through disaster has any idea what it's getting in John Roberts.

Comments

Stupid fuckin SHITHEAD

Stupid fuckin SHITHEAD

That's just the kind of thing that makes Sen. Coburn cry. Stop it.

Eeek! The thought that this guy could be in place for 30 years or more is really not good. It's too bad other people are not seeing it from that prospective.

I guess anything is fair play when the guy doesn't share your political view, eh? I don't think the Democratic side of the aisle felt the same way when it was Bader-Ginsberg on the hot-seat.

By all accounts, and from all information we have seen on this guy, he is a good, decent person who does not attempt to legislate from the bench. If he can withstand the incoherent, mindless, off-subject (possibly drunken) questioning from Ted Kennedy, then I say give him the job.

And for the record, I find Bader-Ginsberg to be a very competent Justice as well, even though she was given a free pass to the highest court in the land.

It's clear he isn't going to answer any questions about women's productive rights, or anything else heated for that matter!

By all accounts, and from all information we have seen on this guy, he is a good, decent person who does not attempt to legislate from the bench.

What do you base this on? We know very little about Judge Roberts, and from the well-worded evasiveness I've heard today, we're not learning a lot.

Perhaps you think it is partisan to be uncomfortable about this, but frankly, I'd be concerned about a Democratic-nominated jurist with so little in the public record that demonstrates his or her judicial philosophy. The only difference is that I'd be more optimistic about the final outcome.

He may have all the equipment, but has he ever been responsible for anything? Has he ever had a position where he was in charge? The question is not only does he have the will to stand up for what he considers important and the strength of character to compromise and even retreat when he sees that he has taken the wrong direction; the question is also does he know how to do this effectively enough to occupy this position? Being a great lawyer should be only one qualification for this job and, perhaps, not the most important because justices get clerks. My idea of a Supreme Court nominee is Elliot Spitzer (apologies for the possible misspelling) or the recent head of the SEC. I would like to have at least a few people on the court with life experience that has been seen and judged by the wider world.

Buggery seems to be alive and well in Texas despite laws to the contrary, but then again everyone here seems to drive drunk and smoke dope freely too, so we may just be lawless mofos down here.

but frankly, I'd be concerned about a Democratic-nominated jurist with so little in the public record that demonstrates his or her judicial philosophy. The only difference is that I'd be more optimistic about the final outcome.

You never seemed like a Republican=Evil guy to me, Rogers. I mean, I'm not wild about some leftists' ideologies, but I don't think they mean anyone harm. The difference between liberalism and conservatism is far more tactical than strategic. Roberts seems decent enough; anyone who lets his kids get nutty in public like that is unlikely to be a closet Hitler.

The dark age of repression liberals fear will not come about no matter who gets on the court. Roe v. Wade will never be overturned, no one's going to stop the buggery, there's no slippery slope toward 1984 on the horizon (unless we become a socialist state, that is). What conservatives want is not to turn back the clock but to stop the creation of law from the judiciary. Which is why I can't think of a worse candidate for Supreme Court Justice than Eliot Spitzer. Well, maybe French Stewart.

P.S. Rogers may be a shithead, but he sure ain't stupid. Behave yourself, commenters.

It is amazing to me that Sen. Feinstein could use the C(atholic) word and directly question Judge Roberts' religious beliefs and wondering if Catholicism could interfere with his work on the court. Unbelievable. Put a white sheet on Diane. Substitute another denomination and it is hard to imagine such a question being countenanced. Anti-catholic questions/prejudice are certainly alive and well. Not everyone may like what Roberts has to say but he clearly knows his subject matter. The religious question is disgraceful. I am ashamed of the Senate.

The religious question is disgraceful.

Sounds quite reasonable to me, especially when it comes to contraception, abortion, etc. The seperation of chruch and state in the US seems to be getting slowly eroded, and the last thing anyone needs is the Chief Justice bringing a religious agenda in to play, so calling questions in this regard "anti-Catholic" seems a bit over the top.

Eeek! The thought that this guy could be in place for 30 years or more is really not good. It's too bad other people are not seeing it from that prospective

Eeek!? To what? What is it exactly that you see in this article? Roberts never said he was for wire tapping law abiding citizens? As for the writer of the above article, it is typical liberal tactics to somehow link Roberts and the most hated man in America (Brown, as if he deserves blame more than any other elected or appointed official) during a time of crisis. Every one is worried about "what he may" do, but we already know about the work he has done. Which leads me to my next gripe...

To the one saying we know nothing about Roberts - Are you serious? Do you really think there is nothing on the public record about Roberts? Is his name not becoming as world reknown as any other Judge? There is NO mere mortal that deserves to go unquestioned, and to be assumed as perfect, but come on. They have documents going back some twenty three years-that's quite a history! And to say he is not qualified because he's never been in charge, what are you thinking. The Supreme Court Chief Justice is not something that you can stop in and fill out an application form as one who goes to work at Walmart or McDonalds.

Roberts spent a considerable amount of time yesterday telling the Senate that his work for the Reagan administration was as an advocate and does not reflect his own views. Just as he was an advocate for most of the past decade, taking cases before the Court.

So basically, all we know for sure about his judicial philosophy is from the last two years when he sat on the D.C. circuit court.

Two years!

The problem with Feinstein's question is she invokes the Catholic background of Roberts as a potential problem. The proper focus would be to ask as a religious person can he separate those views from his role on the bench. It is bigoted to do otherwise. This country does have a history of anti-Catholic animus at times--think of the Know Nothings, Al Smith's failed campaign, try living many places down south as a Catholic, among others. As if the Pope might send a radio signal from Rome and override all thought and experience of public servant Catholics. JFK (not exactly a man who lived a monkish lifestyle) had to go to pains to assert his independence from Rome 50 years ago. It is offensive to me that this is still an issue. If Roberts were a different religion this mindset would not exist anywhere near to the extent it does. That is wrong!

JFK (not exactly a man who lived a monkish lifestyle) had to go to pains to assert his independence from Rome 50 years ago.

And John F. Kerry had to go to pains to assert that he was Catholic enough for religous voters.

To paraphrase Lloyd Bensen--

"Blogman, John Kerry is no JFK."

And in the parlance of the legal profession, if Kerry opened the door and made Catholicism an issue that is his choice or his strategy. Roberts does not come across as a politician or an idealogue. It is offensive for a Senator (especially for me a woman) to engage in sniping around Roberts' Catholicism. Question religion generally. Stay away from denominationally specific inquiries which are bigoted on their face and in origin. Think for a second what is legally or morally acceptable or even best practices from an EEO perspective. Those norms/laws are there for a reason.
Allegedly open minds whould do better.

And in the parlance of the legal profession, if Kerry opened the door and made Catholicism an issue that is his choice or his strategy.

He didn't make it an issue. Right-wingers questioned his right to receive communion and got a few sympathetic Catholic bishops in conservative dioceses to go on the record with such sentiments. It was far uglier than what I heard Feinstein ask, though I haven't read the transcript in full and just caught it on the radio.

OK. Sorry I was responding to your statement--

"And John F. Kerry had to go to pains to assert that he was Catholic enough for religous voters. "

Any pains Kerry went to in reaction to right wing nuts or anklebiters or big mouthed bishops can, and should be, distinguished from the questioning by a US senator from California (a diverse state) in a Judiciary Committee job interview. At any rate, let's not get distracted-- the issue is Roberts and bigotry and a Senate hearing not the rough and tumble of mudslinging (well done on both sides)in the last election. Finally, I have yet to find two wrongs to make a right. This country has some bad history with Catholics and some of that bad karma still sits not too deep beneath the surface. I saw it yesterday and it made me ashamed of the narrow-minded views of some.

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