Wednesday, September 21, 2005

There is a buzz on the Internet that Roberts is not the Taliban Christian he's been portrayed by the left and right; and religious wingnuts are none too happy about it at all.

Any fair minded person who watched Roberts testify in the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings had to come away with a sense of Roberts' integrity in matters of law; and that unlike his portrayal, Roberts is no strict constructionist determined to roll back 20th century constitutional law.

On the issue of congressional authority to redress past wrongs under the equal protection clause of the Constitution, Roberts said he had no problem" with the Voting Rights Act.

On the issue of precedent and right to privacy, Roberts said he would not overturn decisions simply because he might think they were initially wrongly decided. The two prong question for him is whether a precedent has now "created settled expectations that should not be disrupted" or the "bases of the precedent has [already] been eroded."

Roberts testified that he is no ideologue. And to the extent "his answers...show[ed] him to be to the left of Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas," Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Ben Nelson (D-NE.) have agreed to confirm him as Chief Supreme Court Justice.

Will Roberts vote with the liberal wing of the Court all of the time? Undoubtedly no. But will he swing with the right wing faction? Answers on the third day of Senate hearings lead one to hope the answer is also no.

When asked by Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) what of his "life experiences [could] the powerless, the disenfranchised, minorities and others see...that would lead them to believe that they would have a fighting chance in your court?" Roberts responded with integrity and ardor and quite possibly swayed more than a few Democratic votes.

Well, Senator, I think there are many things that people could look to.
You said I had a comfortable life. I think that's a fair characterization. I had
a middle-class upbringing in Indiana...Comfortable, yes. But isolated in no
sense...I was privileged in the sense of having my parents and sisters
contributing to my upbringing and education. And I think people looking at my
life would see someone in that experience -- and, obviously, with limitations.


I wasn't raised in other places in the country and might have a
different perspective if I were. I wasn't raised in different circumstances and
would have different experiences if I were.


As you look at the Supreme Court, the people on there come from widely different backgrounds and experiences and I think that's a healthy thing.

But as far as someone going into court, and looking too see why they would expect to get a fair hearing from me, I think -- and I could answer this with respect to the court I'm on now...It's hard for me to imagine what their case is about, that I
haven't been on their side at some point in my career.


If it's somebody who's representing welfare recipients who have had their benefits cut off, I've done that.

If it's somebody who is representing a criminal defendant who's facing a long sentence in prison, I've done that.

If it's a prosecutor who's doing his job to defend society's interest against criminals, I've been on the side of the prosecution.

If it's somebody who's representing environmental interests, environmentalists in the Supreme Court, I've done that.

If it's somebody who is representing the plaintiffs in an anti- trust case, I've been in that person's shoes.

I've done that.

If it's somebody representing a defendant in any trust case, I've done that as well. It's one of the, I think, great benefits of the opportunity I've had to practice law as I have is that it has not been a specialized practice. I've not just represented one side or the other. I've represented all of those interests.

And I think those people will know that I have had their perspective. I've been on the other side of the podium with a case just like theirs. And that should, I hope -- and I hope it does now -- encourage them that I will be fair and that I will decide the case according to law but I will have seen it from their perspective.




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I tend to agreee that Roberts is acceptable to be confirmed as Chief Justice. There are some real questions left that will only be answered in the future.
Senator Harry Reid is voting against, he has a letter on his web site. He really isn't very forceful in his reason to vote against.
If the Taliban Christians are upset then that's a good thing by me.
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