Senate Testimony Signifying Nothing

John Roberts

Andrew Hyman, a conservative attorney who has been promoting John Roberts vigorously since his selection by President Bush, abandoned the judge in response to his answers during the first day of the confirmation hearings:

It now appears very possible to me that President Bush has nominated a pro-Roe vote in place of an anti-Roe vote. It appears from this morning's testimony -- and I could be wrong about this -- that Judge Roberts will probably affirm the so-called right to obtain an abortion all the way up until viability, even though 72% of women in the United States have consistently said that abortion should generally be illegal months before viability.

Read the entire discussion, one of the most fascinating I've found on the Roberts hearings, and you'll find that conservatives have no more idea than liberals what we're getting for the next 30 years. With a voice as soothing as an NPR host, Roberts has shown that he's expert on constitutional law, quick-witted, and intelligent enough to give the American public absolutely no clue as to his judicial philosophy.

He's also extremely personable. After hearing his encyclopedically vague answers for three days, I like Roberts so much I resent myself for wanting to know anything about him.

Throughout the hearings, Roberts has relied often on the rationale that he can't provide his opinion on matters that might be revisited by the court. He even used it to avoid discussing Bush v. Gore, a case in which the Supreme Court explicitly stated it was not setting a precedent. Here's the exchange about the case with Wisconsin Sen. Herb Kohl:

KOHL: I asked you what your opinion of that decision was at that time.

ROBERTS: Well, that's an area where I've not been -- I've not felt free to comment whether or not I agree with particular decisions or...

KOHL: Well, it's not likely to come up again.

ROBERTS: Well, I do think that the issue about the propriety of Supreme Court review in matters of disputed electoral contests, it is a matter that could come up again. Obviously, the particular perimeters in that case won't, but it is a very recent precedent.

And that type of a decision is one where I thought it inappropriate to comment on whether I think they were correct or not.

If the nation no longer expects candor from Supreme Court justices, the Judiciary Committee should adopt the format of What's My Line?, with blindfolded senators asking a series of yes-no questions of the nominee to determine his identity. The winner could receive a federal highway named in his honor and three ethical violations to be named later.

Comments

Natural selection and Darwinian evolution apply to social systems as well. We've created a poisonous system of rancourous politics, and the system molds its creatures. The survivors reflect the environment they evolved in. How could it be otherwise?

His eyes are scaring me.

Don't look at them directly, or you'll become an originalist.

That must be photoshopped. It cannot be.

The truth is that if the Democrats have anything on this guy they are doing a terrible job of pleading their case. Ted Kennedy was embarrased pretty badly when he laid out a case for Roberts having said that the EEOC was unAmerican. A person in a legal dispute with the EEOC made that statement ... not Roberts. Kennedy was left fumbling. The truth is that someone in the Bush Whitehouse has been very shrewd with the Roberts nomination. And the truth is that there's noa real reason to deny the nomination. Rogers, you know my politics and I am left of center. But I think that neither party is true to their word, they are just trying to stake out powerbases and nothing more. So to pretend that any of this is about a set of beliefs or values is silly. And I must disagree with you on the issue of nominees giving specific opinions on specific legal issues/cases. I don't think it's a good idea. And I don't think it's a good idea if it's a Republican or a Democrat being nominated. And when a Democrat is nominated, the Democrats don't want specific questions on specific questions either. Of course the Republicans are showing they're big hypocrits too.

The next Democratic nominee will undoubtedly reveal as little as John Roberts to the Judiciary Committee. Perhaps he or she will even reveal less, having had the benefit of his example. Roberts is teaching a class on how to do it right.

I don't think the Senate should decide whether or not there's a strong reason to deny him. It should decide whether there's a strong reason to approve him.

And more importantly, what zany nickname will Bush give him? Bugeyes? The Zombie? Chief Dyno-Mite?

Bette Davis.

See His Robot Eyes

Love your brothers,

Love your sisters.

The Kingdom of God is nigh,

All Hail the King of the World

Glory hallelujah!

Time to Chant Down Babylon

The Conquering Lion of Judah

is Coming

to Claim his Throne.

The Beast, that old Dragon,

Erected an Image to Deceive them,

But you can't stop Righteousness.

The Earth shall tremble.

The Lord of Creation will

Conquer his enemies.

All knees shall bend.

HalleluJah!

Bob Marley Lives!

Jah Ras TafarI!

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