Tuesday, September 13, 2005


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I have largely avoided the whole John Roberts nomination discussion. Unless there's a bombshell, he's gonna be nominated. Yeah, I know. If he's a hack, you should still question him. But I just haven't had the energy for that issue, and I think this is why.

Today, I did read a bit from Digby:
Roberts is obviously a very, very smart lawyer. He talked circles around everybody on the committee today. There is no doubt in my mind that he will craft beautifully reasoned, elegant decisions that will result in as much destruction of the last 75 years of social and economic progress as he can politically get away with.
I totally agree with the first part of this statement. Roberts is sharp, smooth and very very articulate. He is obviously a great advocate, and is doing a superb job advocating for himself. But, is the second part of Digby's statement correct?

Of course, no one really knows.....yet. But lawyers are trained and ingrained with the notion that the law is even-handed. There's evidence that Roberts has been willing to adjust to circumstances and advocate for his particular constituency, like lawyers do (and are supposed to do). All this has made it difficult to know exactly what John Roberts thinks.

But I wonder about a couple of things. First, the fact that his record is so amorphous seems to indicate a certain flexibility. Unlike for example, Robert Bork, the very fact that he's an unknown may argue that there's an opportunity for a more even-handed judge.

The second thing is an article I read about how the Supreme Court operates behind the scenes (I've tried to find it, but I read so much...... sorry no linky). This article suggests that the process is not for the faint. After hearing arguments, the justices meet in conference beginning with a formal handshake. They then go at it, arguing the merits/demerits of a case, challenging each other's logic and arguments. The insider in this article mentioned that this process is quite intense and requires a justice to really be solidly based in the law.

I sense (for what that's worth!) an intelligence and solid respect for the law in Roberts and I suspect Bush could have done a lot worse. If Roberts does have respect for the law, is smart, and is not an ideologue, he may fall into the category of a justice who is nominated by a conservative and who becomes a moderate.

We can only hope.


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