Jul 20, 2005

Roberts roundup

A look at some initial reactions to Bush's nominee before the fur starts flying.

Gang of three:
The others in that "gang" could be Justices Anthony M. Kennedy and Stephen G. Breyer. As the Court moves more toward the conservative side, as a direct result of Roberts' arrival, there is a real possibility of a new dynamic center made up of those three.

This does not represent a foolish dream of a moderate or a liberal who wants to hang onto a Court that would be no more conservative than the present Nine. Instead, it is a realistic possibility that could come from the style and instincts of "Justice" Roberts, who is more conservative than either O'Connor or Powell. The new man is not an Antonin Scalia or a Clarence Thomas. Neither, of course, is he a David H. Souter -- so the Court's conservative followers can relax if they harbor any fears of that.

Bill Kristol says Bush rose to the occasion by choosing a "non-PC, non-quota" candidate who is a solid conservative.

But Fred Barnes says Bush made a safe pick.

Mark at Decision '08 has John Kerry's reaction.

Todd S. Purdum notes that both sides of the abortion debate may have qualms about the candidate's views.
Abortion rights groups fault him for arguing, as deputy solicitor general for the first Bush administration in 1990, in favor of a government regulation banning abortion-related counseling in federally financed family planning programs.

He also helped write a brief then that restated the administration's opposition to Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that established the constitutional right to abortion, contending, "We continue to believe that Roe was wrongly decided and should be overruled."

But when pressed in his 2003 confirmation hearings for his own views, he said: "Roe v. Wade is the settled law of the land," and added, "There's nothing in my personal views that would prevent me from fully and faithfully applying that precedent."

Such comments have made Judge Roberts somewhat suspect in the eyes of some social conservatives. But he arouses nothing like the opposition that conservatives leveled at another potential nominee, Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales, whose views on abortion are more uncertain.

Abortion will take center stage, says Adam at Southern Appeal, despite the fact that Roberts also signed on to a recent Gitmo decision. He notes that as of early this morning only one press account mentioned the Gitmo decision.
Supreme Court Justices decide myriad Constitutional and non-Constitutional questions. Abortion cases come up, what, every three or four years? Why will Roe overshadow virtually every other aspect of the public debate over this nomination (save for some relatively brief tangents on the Commerce Clause and Affirmative Action)?

A devout Catholic and often "the smartest man in the room."

Linda Greenhouse: Roberts isn't a "flamethrower" like Clarence Thomas or Antonin Scalia.
To the extent that as a judge he has expressed a limited view of federal power, that is consistent with the views of Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, whom he is being named to succeed, and would not change the balance on the court. He signed briefs as a Justice Department lawyer conveying the anti-abortion position of the first Bush administration, but he has given no indication of his personal or judicial views on abortion.

Roberts is "one of the great Supreme Court advocates of his generation," says Adam Liptak in a story about the judge's career.

WaPo's biography or Roberts with links to relevant documents.

Pejman says he'd have liked to see Roberts replace Rehnquist, for whom he clerked, as the next chief justice.

Leon H. looks at Roberts' enemies.

Jim K. says the KOSsacks are already going after the judge and his family.

Michael JW Stickings calls Roberts "a right-wing radical."

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