Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Here We Go...SCOTUS Appointment is John Roberts

I as yet have no opinion, as I don't know anything about him. I'm sure opinions and articles and links will accrete as we all figure out who this 50-year-old is...

13 Thoughts:

Blogger Doug said...

Clue #1.

Clue #2.

My initial notion is that Bush picked a pretty conservative guy with a well-regarded legal background. Not a Thomas, background-wise, but not exactly a moderate, by a long shot.

Criminalizing flag-burning shows a complete lack of understanding of free speech; writing a brief against Roe v. Wade bodes ill; his relative lack of a paper trail and relative youth and my general, well-founded mistrust of this administration makes me wary -- I think the strategy is to get a conservative in who cannot be rejected for any strictly legal-knowledge reason, thus turning the tables on the Democrats, who now will have to question Roberts about issues. That means, they'll have to trust his answers -- the GOP won't screw up like they did with Bork again.

Well, we shall see. Knocks Rove off the front pages, that's for sure.

Prediction: it will be ugly, but if the Democrats do not come out and declare exactly why a person with impeccable legal credentials is unfit for the Court, they will lose. The Bush team certainly know their politics, if nothing else.

We'll see what happens; I think he'll be confirmed. Maybe he'll actually be a true conservative and protect some civil liberties for us...but R v. W is likely going to die.

This guy also apparently was for preventing doctors speaking to women about abortions -- gag rule stuff.

Sigh.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005 10:03:00 AM  
Blogger Palmer said...

Seems like a solid, if unspectacular choice.

Will there be a litmus test?

What's the question of this confirmation?

Who will frame the discussion? Leahy? Schumer? Specter?

Wednesday, July 20, 2005 12:30:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

There are always several litmus tests, no matter who selects and what constellation of folks's ideologies comes to bear on confirming.

BushCo wants a social conservative to continue the rollback of progressive/liberal policies. The Dems, many of them at least, want to prevent that. Both will claim not to make decisions based on their political commitments; both will claim to want merely an independent legal scholar. Neither side will mean it. :)

Wednesday, July 20, 2005 1:38:00 PM  
Blogger Palmer said...

During the confirmation hearings, what questions would be difficult to answer?

What would be grounds for DQ?

Wednesday, July 20, 2005 2:23:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Another view.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005 3:58:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Hey, Mike:

1. Do you agree with your brief you signed from 1991 that "Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided and should be overruled"?

2. Do you agree with what you wrote that Roe v. Wade "has no support in the text, structure or history of the Constitution"?

3. Why do you exempt flag-burning from free speech?

4. Do you think a doctor should be prevented from discussing the abortion option with his patients? On what Constitutional grounds?

5. Why do you think about the recent case on affirmative action?

6. Why don't you think that prayer in schools, regardless of where and when, is somehow supported by the Constitution?

7. Why can't environmental groups have the right to sue under the Endangered Species Act?

8. Why are military tribunals for Gitmo detainees legal when we have a perfectly good legal system for such things?

9. [If he doesn't answer these or other questions clearly and at length:] What makes you think we'll confirm you if you refuse to let us know what your political and legal philosophy is?

That'd be a nice start. :)

Grounds for disqualification: being way outside the generally shared values of the country -- the majority of the country. The SC is an undemocratic institution -- for better and worse -- it's only tangentially influenced by elected officials. We have a right to know what this guy would do for the next 25 years, even given that legal scholars tend to change in unpredictable ways. Lately, they have not -- and by design: Scalia and Thomas have been lockstep since they got there. Sometimes -- rarely -- I agree with them, as on eminent domain. But most times, no.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005 4:17:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Oops: 5. Should be "What" not "Why".

Wednesday, July 20, 2005 4:18:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Question: Why bother to have a sappy introduction in primetime, if not for political purposes, whether to "humanize" him or to distract attention from Rove.

So, I think it would be apt to ask why he agreed to this apparently unprecedented introduction of a justice nominee to the nation.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005 4:38:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

The recent district court (DC) decision -- last week -- was a big victory for the Bush admin (using military tribunals). Smells like payoff to me.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005 4:40:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Question for everyone: What is the average number of years on a district court for SCOTUS nominees? 2 seems rather low to me, ideology beside.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005 4:59:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

From the Washington Post:

"Roberts's name did not appear on any of the briefs during the Florida presidential recount, but sources say he gave Jeb Bush critical advice on how the Florida legislature could name George W. Bush the winner at time when Republicans feared the courts might force a different choice."

Hmmmm...

Full article.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005 5:27:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

More info.

And yet more info.

My guess is that he'll dodge most questions and be confirmed -- what he actually believes, we can't know. He's 50 and has 2 years' experience on the bench.

However, his connections to the Bush folks makes me nervous -- both in the Florida recount in 2000 and the recent (and horrific, in my opinion) case on military tribunals in Gitmo.

We'll just have to hope that he's a Blackmun or O'Connor and not a Thomas or Scalia.

Thursday, July 21, 2005 11:24:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Another view -- specifically on Church and State.

Thursday, July 21, 2005 11:30:00 AM  

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