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August 05, 2005

Comments

The NY Times did an editorial faulting Roberts for forgeting his involvement in the Federalist Society,a secret den of rogues if ever there was one. Let's see if they have anything to say on Robert's forgeting his work on Romer V Evans. An unfortunate aspect of the case is that a democratically voted referendum was overturned, a reminder to the sans culottes that they can only go so far and to remember their place,Jefferson and Mill be dammed.

Everything I've read about this says, it is not evidence about Roberts' personal convictions, just his lawyerly dedication to serving the client's interests. But wouldn't a case taken on pro bono be more indicative of the lawyer's personal convictions? Or does the fact that it was his firm that took the case rather than him, negate that idea? IAN by any stretch AL. When your firm takes a case on pro bono does that make it your case?

I think when you're rooting around the scraps taking a single case or two to get some feeling of someone's philosophy, then you can't possibly know enough about the person to allow them to sit on the highest court in our land - for life.

And I think that's precisely the way the administration wants it.

Which should scare everyone - left and right.

Which should scare everyone - left and right.

I'm sorry, I just don't scare that easily.

What is it that you want, Hal, to keep you from being scared?

You know, people seem to think that the Bush administration has some sort of inside information reflecting Roberts' judicial philosophy. I think we can see from Souter, Kennedy, Stevens, Warren, etc. that Presidents do not have some sort of searing insight into how someone they appoint to the court will rule down the road.

OT - did anyone see the Medium Lobster's latest on fafblog? Could be the best thing it's ever written.

Break me a give. He argued (in house) against the Voting Rights Act, as well. He's going to be bad for civil rights, but he's going through anyway.

"You know, people seem to think that the Bush administration has some sort of inside information reflecting Roberts' judicial philosophy."

It's likely that, on abortion at least, some level of comfort for the Adminstration was provded by Roberts' wife.

When your firm takes a case on pro bono does that make it your case?

Sure it does, in a sense. I find this story completely unextraordinary. Anyone at that firm with any SC case would have been smart to go to Roberts for a read through and some advice. And who could possibly have been better for a moot? It doesn't say anything at all about his personal views.

The great thing about practicing law in a larger firm is that you can bounce ideas around with people who know more about some substantive or procedural point than you do.

I've long said that mooting a colleague's appellate argument is the second best job in the law: you get to really drill them, ask all kinds of inapposite hypotheticals, be unreasonable and rude. The best job is playing red-team preparing senior officers of the client for deposition, that is, you try to get them to give away their case with 5 leading questions.

Slarti: I won't presume to speak for Hal, but what I'd want to see, to feel there was enough basis for genuine exercise of the advise and consent function, is all of Roberts' memos and arguments while the U.S. people were his clients. I.e., all the documents the Democratic members of the Judiciary Committee are asking for.

johnt--An unfortunate aspect of the case is that a democratically voted referendum was overturned, a reminder to the sans culottes that they can only go so far and to remember their place,Jefferson and Mill be dammed.

Amendment 2 was indeed a democratically voted referendum, which only goes to show that the majority of Colorado voters can be convinced that a positive statement of "equal rights" (that gays are entitled to the same protections as everyone else) is actually a statement of privilege and that legislation which explicitly denies them equal rights is necessary to balance that. The wording of the ballot initiative was unclear at best and the supporters of Amendment 2 flat out lied to the public about what it actually did, selling it as a protection of private property rights.

And I'm not sure why you invoke Mill for support in this one, since the arguments in On Liberty lend no support to any sort of pseudo-populist majoritarian bigotry like Amendment 2. Mill explicitly supported pluralism and preservation of maximum rights for minorities and those who dissented from the majority way of life. He thought that minorities were essential to the vitality of a society. Amendment 2 acted directly against that principle.

So, at least on a broad level, it is hard to see this as some sort of serious blow to democratic principles in anything but the most narrowly majoritarian sense. I leave it to the lawyers to argue over what the ruling does to legal precedent.

I like Josh Marshall's formulation:
whatever the Administration has access to in nominating him, the Senate should have access to in confirming him.

is all of Roberts' memos and arguments while the U.S. people were his clients. I.e., all the documents the Democratic members of the Judiciary Committee are asking for.

Do you expect that those things will be an absolute predictor of Roberts' rulings as a SC justice? Furthermore, do you believe that asking for all of those things is consistent with the advise and consent exercised on previous SC nominees? Or was perhaps the public record and the Q&A process (during which, I note, other SC justices declined to answer certain questions of the how-would-you-rule variety) good enough?

I really don't know. Why don't you tell me?

Slarti, Hal expressed an alarm I share at the very meager amount of information about Roberts that the nominee and administration are so far willing to make available. You asked (in that mocking tone that's gotten pretty tiresome) what information about Roberts it would take for Hal "not to be scared." I answered, speaking for myself.

Apparently, participating at all in this thread opens a person up to your further hectoring. Fair enough, but this will be my last comment for a good while.

My answers in order are: no, yes, and no -- not when someone up for a supreme judicial position he could hold for thirty years has only been a judge a short while and when documents relevant to his legal thinking exist but are being withheld.

The best part of this is watching the "outliers" on the left and right try to figure out how to spin this to their advantage or their opponents' disadvantage.

Right now they don't seem to know what to spin, although I'm sure that'll change soon enough.

I agree with Tad, and Marshall, that the Senate ought to have access to the same information the White House has.

More broadly, I disagree with those who would restrict questioning and information, or suggest that there is a large set of off-limits matters. The plain fact is that we are talking about giving Roberts one of the most powerful jobs in the country - one he will likely hold for 30 years or more. Shouldn't the bias be towards allowing questions rather than prohibiting them?

Great, bernard. You know, I don't have nearly as much of an issue with information as I do with there being, apparently, a new standard emplaced.

Nell, no mocking was intended or, actually, put into words. If you're taking my sincere request for your opinion as mockery, well, know that it's all happening on your end of the keyboard.

An unfortunate aspect of the case is that a democratically voted referendum was overturned, a reminder to the sans culottes that they can only go so far and to remember their place,Jefferson and Mill be dammed.

Yep, just like in Brown vs. Board when a democratically enacted school segregation scheme was overturned by those robed tyrants. Darn shame that was. If the people vote to ignore the 14th amendment, who are these unelected elitists to tell them they can't?

"Great, bernard." Hahahahaha.

"Great, bernard." Hahahahaha.

Er... am I missing something, or are you confusing Great Danes and Saint Bernards?

Yes. Yes, I am. Um . . . look, over there!

Vanishes in a puff of smoke.

I don't have nearly as much of an issue with information as I do with there being, apparently, a new standard emplaced.

Perhaps it's worth asking whether White House practices have changed. If so, then it's hardly fair to criticize the Senate for changing its practices as well.

I'm no scholar of these matters. Still, it does seem to me that the process of selecting judges has become more politicized recently, so it may be that changing standards, if they are indeed changing, are not restricted to the Senate's role in the process.

If you're taking my sincere request for your opinion as mockery, well, know that it's all happening on your end of the keyboard.

If it was genuinely intended as sincere, can I suggest rephrasing the question?

Who cares if we're changing procedures? The worst reason for doing something is because we did it yesterday. Is it useful, and are we barred from doing it? Respecting the past comes well after those questions.

Smoking gun:
"Jean Dubofsky, lead lawyer for the gay rights activists and a former Colorado Supreme Court justice, said that when she came to Washington to prepare for the U.S. Supreme Court presentation, she immediately was referred to Roberts.

"Everybody said Roberts was one of the people I should talk to," Dubofsky said. "He has a better idea on how to make an effective argument to a court that is pretty conservative and hasn't been very receptive to gay rights.""

Key words "immediately" and "everybody". The Right can spin it how they want but it seems to be the fact that when you come to DC needing to argue a gay rights case a number of people right off the top of their heads said "See John".

In his public persona this was a very conservative down the line Reagan guy. Why would people even dream he would be willing to take this case on at all, and still less think so "immediately"?

I don't care, but certainly wingnuts do. My personal opinion is that Roberts is probably as least evil of the possible choices out there. But you know and I know that he is a lock to overturn Roe v Wade. There has been a lot of in-jokes around the Left Blogosphere about the Guckert/Mehlman/Rove nexus but little willingness to take the next step. Perhaps it is time to let our liberal squeamishness take a back seat to our committment to womens rights.

BTW it kinds of kills the "he was just dragged in from the side" "he was just doing what his boss ordered" defenses. Clearly he was more central than that.

of course, if he has a low-profile soft spot for gay rights, wouldn't it be in the interests of those who support such things to not feed this kind of ammo to those who oppose them? rather, let those who oppose gay rights keep right on believing they're getting someone who shares their views... ?

White House Stonewalls on Roberts

If it was genuinely intended as sincere, can I suggest rephrasing the question?

I'm not sure how much more direct a disavowal of positive knowledge and request for information could possibly be, Anarch. But for you, I'll try to strain for more clarity.

This may take a while.

But, whatever.

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