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

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Signs that the Dems have lost their way on Roberts

They can't even convince the St Louis Post-Dispatch that Roberts is a rabid right-winger. Sure, the Post gets in a low blow or two in this editorial, but it saves its biggest criticism for the ineffectual and impolite Senators with a D after their name.

U.S. SUPREME COURT: John G. Roberts Jr. as the anti-Bork

JUDGE JOHN G. ROBERTS JR. all but clinched his confirmation as the nation's 17th chief justice on Tuesday with spare, lawyerly, mainstream answers about the role of the Supreme Court. Judge Roberts' cool demeanor, leavened with humor, contrasted sharply with the impolitic badgering of some Democratic critics on the Senate Judiciary Committee considering his nomination.
The most combative exchanges came between Judge Roberts and Sens. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., and Joseph Biden, D-Del. Both challenged Judge Roberts to explain memos he wrote during the Reagan administration advocating a stingy view of civil rights laws.

The Democratic senators scored points on substance but did so in such a self-righteous and exasperating way that few spectators likely noticed.

At one point, the committee's chairman, Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., reproached Sen. Biden for cutting off Judge Roberts after the senator told Judge Roberts that he could "go ahead and continue not to answer."

Although Sen. Biden was rude and ineffectual, he had a point. As a young Reagan administration lawyer, Judge Roberts had written that courts should not give "heightened" scrutiny to laws discriminating against women. Judge Roberts claimed Tuesday that the word "heightened" in his memo had been misunderstood and that he actually thinks courts should give closer scrutiny to gender discrimination. The answer was unpersuasive.

Later, Judge Roberts said his narrow view of the reach of federal anti-discrimination laws at colleges merely reflected Reagan administration policy. When Sen. Biden pointed out that he had written he had "strongly" favored that narrow interpretation, Judge Roberts admitted he did think the Reagan approach was correct. Later still, Judge Roberts couldn't think of a single civil rights position he had taken as a young lawyer that he now realized was wrong.
Judge Roberts entered the hearings with everyone agreeing he is a brilliant lawyer and effective Supreme Court advocate. On Tuesday, he came across as a pleasant anti-Bork. That should be enough to win him the center seat on the Supreme Court bench.

I would say that the Post-Dispatch would have difficulty explaining to its readers the difference between "heightened scrutiny" and "closer scrutiny" regarding gender discrimination, so I'm not sure their claim that Roberts' answer was "unpersuasive" is... well... persuasive.

And, surprise, surprise... Roberts hasn't become a race- or gender-obsessed judge since working in the Reagan administration, preferring that the law treat all of us not on the basis of race or gender, but as equal citizens.

Well, congrats to the new Chief Justice... I think both the Left and the Right are unsure as to how he'll rule on any given issue. I don't think he's going to be a justice in the mold of Thomas or Scalia, so Bush has let the Right down in that regard. But, he's not the boogeyman that the Left is trying to make him out to be. Unfortunately for the Left, they haven't kept their powder dry during the Bush presidency and almost anything they proffer is now regarded as the deranged rantings of an extreme fringe element. Either that or it's regarded as unserious blather.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler