Friday, September 23, 2005

Why "No" on Roberts

So some Democratic Senators are coming out against the Roberts nomination.

But what they are saying as to "why" they oppose his nomination sound strange to me.

Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh said Friday he will vote against the nomination of Judge John G. Roberts Jr. to be the next chief justice of the United States because not enough is known about how Roberts will act.

"I cannot (conclude he'll be a great justice) because so much essential to reaching a considered judgment about this nominee remains unknown," Bayh said in a statement. "And that is not enough for a lifetime appointment to our nation's highest court, a court from which there is no appeal, a court that is the ultimate arbiter of our most basic rights and freedoms."

But we already know plenty about Roberts' background and views on important issues and values.

As special assistant to the Attorney General in the Reagan Administration, and later as a key legal strategist in the Reagan White House counsel's office, Roberts was an aggressive participant in the administration's attempts to restrict fundamental constitutional and civil rights. In fact, Roberts often came down to the right of ultraconservative legal luminaries, including Robert Bork, William Bradford Reynolds, and Ted Olson. He supported the legality of radical proposals to strip the courts of jurisdiction over certain school desegregation remedies, abortion, and school prayer. He denigrated what he referred to as the “so-called” right to privacy, resisted attempts to fully restore the effectiveness of the Voting Rights Act, and worked against measures aimed at increasing gender equity. As the Washington Post has reported, at times he was “derisive, using words such as 'purported' and 'perceived' to describe discrimination against women.”

He has dismissed the Constitutional Right to Privacy (oh yes, he offered qualified support for a right to privacy during the hearings, but what did you think he was going to say in order to forestall a Democratic filibuster?).

Sounds like reason enough to me to oppose him. Democratic Senators would be doing themselves and their constituents a much greater service if they would acknowledge these concerns, rather than hide behind, what sounds to me as, a fig leaf of "not enough about Roberts is known".

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