Originally published on my old blog in 2005.
Bush, Democrats Rise Above Partisanship in Nomination of John Roberts to be Chief Justice
For all the dire predictions of a partisan bloodbath in Congress over President Bush’s nominee to be the next Supreme Court justice, it looks like there will not be one. Roberts Unlikely To Face Big Fight (Washington Post). I’m sure some zealots are disappointed that a fight to make the blood boil is not brewing. Roberts’ nomination won’t provide an opportunity to demonize “the left” or “the right,” to raise a lot of money from direct mail, to mount personal attacks, to beat drums and breasts with outrage over the personal attacks from the other side. John Roberts appears to be thoughtful, respectful of diverse points of view, conservative but not an ideologue who can be predictably pegged before he even hears a case. Could civility, restraint and fair play actually win a victory in Washington?
Originally published on my old blog in 2006.
It Turns Out Bush Appointed Two Ideologues to Supreme Court
I was one of those who was snookered — taken in — to believe that President Bush and Congress “rose above partisanship” in the nominations of Samual Alito and John Roberts to the Supreme Court. But an analysis of their votes during the recent Supreme Court term by Ted Kennedy indicate they are ideologues rather than moderates who consistently apply legal principles. The Senate should learn far more about Supreme Court nominees before it follows its Constitutional mandate to advise and consent, Kennedy contends, even though he expects the next justices will be appointed by a Democratic President and voted on by a Democratic Senate. Kennedy writes:
“In League of United Latin American Citizens v. Perry , the Supreme Court held that Texas’s 2003 redistricting plan violated the Voting Rights Act by protecting a Republican legislator against a growing Latino population. Roberts reached a different view, concluding that the courts should not have been involved and that it “is a sordid business, this divvying us up by race.”
“The same Roberts who wished the federal government would leave Texas alone was unconcerned by federal intrusion into Oregon’s approach to the issue of assisted suicide. In Gonzales v. Oregon, a majority of the Supreme Court held that the Justice Department lacked the power to undermine Oregon’s Death With Dignity Act. However, Roberts joined a startling dissent by Justice Antonin Scalia, stating that the administration’s actions were “unquestionably permissible” because the federal government can use the Constitution’s commerce clause powers “for the purpose of protecting public morality.”
“It is difficult to believe that a neutral judicial philosophy explains Roberts’s very different views in these two cases,” Kennedy concludes.
On the environment, Roberts and Alito also joined an opinion that describes wetlands as “transitory puddles.” MORE