ARC's 1st Law: As a "progressive" online discussion grows longer, the probability of a nefarious reference to Karl Rove approaches one

Monday, August 08, 2005

A Sign that the Dems have lost their minds

They've lost the St Louis Post-Dispatch on the Roberts nomination to the Supreme Court. It seems that despite all the lather, some on the Left (which clearly includes the P-D editorial board) have to acknowledge the facts of the matter.

JUDGE JOHN G. ROBERTS JR.: Nonissues
Monday, Aug. 08 2005

CRITICS OF JOHN G. ROBERTS JR. should save their breath on three subjects that have nothing to do with how good a Supreme Court justice he might be: his involvement with the Federalist Society, his religion and his wife's role as a volunteer for an anti-abortion group.

Whether Mr. Roberts was a member of the Federalist Society is just about as relevant as whether Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a member of the ACLU. Which is to say, it's irrelevant.

The Federalist Society is an influential group of conservative and libertarian lawyers. It was formed 23 years ago in reaction to what was perceived to the
liberal domination of the nation's law schools and soon became influential in Ronald Reagan's administration. Antonin Scalia was an adviser to the group before becoming a Supreme Court justice himself.

Roger Pilon, of the libertarian Cato Institute, thinks the questions about Roberts' association with the Federalist Society are like the old McCarthy-era question: "Are you now or have you ever been...?" Mr. Pilon told the Washington Post that he was puzzled by the White House's efforts to distance Mr. Roberts from the group. After all, Mr. Pilon said, the Federalists aren't like the Communist Party or the Ku Klux Klan.

The White House sensitivities and Judge Roberts' own statements actually have fueled suspicions among Roberts' critics. Judge Roberts makes the lawyerly distinction that he wasn't a member of the group, even though he participated in society events and was once listed as a member of a steering committee. Sounds like a distinction without a difference. But so what? The knowledge that a person is a member of the Federalist Society isn't a predictor of how good a justice he will be or whether he'll be strong on free speech, religious freedom or personal privacy.

Nor is a judge's religion or lack thereof relevant to his qualifications for the Supreme Court. It shouldn't matter that Judge Roberts is a Catholic, or that he would be the fourth Catholic on the court. Some Catholic justices have voted for abortion rights and others against.

More to the point, the Constitution says there are to be no religious tests for public office. When Sen. Richard J. Durbin, D-Ill., recently asked Judge Roberts how his religion would affect his decisions, the judge reportedly told Mr. Durbin that he would be governed by the rule of law. That's all the Senate needs to know.

Finally, Jane Roberts' role as a volunteer lawyer for Feminists for Life is utterly out of bounds. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., to his credit, made this point soon after Mr. Roberts' nomination.

It would be unrealistic to think that Judge Roberts could completely wall out his wife's views any more than Justice Harry Blackmun could rule out the abortion-rights views of his wife. But Judge Roberts' nomination itself, coming after Laura Bush's comments about a female justice, go to show that pillow talk doesn't always hold sway.

The Dems have nothing, but I still think that Chuckie and Teddie will do their best to object to the nomination, not because of any issues with Roberts himself. But because they don't want to give Bush credit for picking a qualified judge that is "in the mainstream."

Their concerns are clearly political - not prinicpled.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler