Lots of reasons to be worried about Justice John G. Roberts

by on July 22nd, 2005

Yesterday’s NY Times was practically begging the Senate to vote in favor of the nomination of John G. Roberts to the Supreme Court. The Time’s front page bio was a glowing review of Roberts and his “pragmatic view of the law.” David Brooks, the Times favored “conservative” used the word “love” to describe his feelings for Roberts. The headlining reader-submitted editorials were from democrats praising Roberts as “eminently qualified” and warnings to activist groups to “back off.” Three of the five reader editorials were pro-Roberts. The grey lady knows something about Roberts and she is pushing hard for this man.

Assuming the Times bio is correct in their portrayal of Roberts, principled advocates of individual rights should not look forward to a new hero on the bench. Pragmatism rejects the fundamental principles of ethics in favor of the politics du jour. As such, the plague of pragmatism encourages us to do “whatever is practical,” with no mention of the values by which one deems something practical. This implies that Roberts will be a powerful swing vote on many court decisions, many of which will not favor individual rights, however “practical” the decision may be.

It is clear that Justice Roberts is going to sail through the nomination process. It is equally clear that this “pragmatic” man is not going to be another Clarence Thomas. No, more likely he will be our next Justice Souter.


Equally foreboding was a quote from Justice Robert’s mother, Rosemary Roberts stating “We were very concerned about the news (about their son’s nomination and headlines) and everything. We have always been a family that was interested in things other than ourselves.” Great…


Robert Byrd, that cantankerous former KKK member and consistent critic of President Bush was ecstatic over the nomination of Roberts. “I thank President Bush for reaching out to senators on both sides of the aisle as he worked to select a nominee for the court,” Mr. Byrd said. “I hope that this bipartisan cooperation will continue as the confirmation process begins.”


More worrisome quotes from the usual suspects.

The Washington Post: “In nominating Judge John G. Roberts Jr. to the Supreme Court, President Bush picked a man of substance and seriousness.”

Los Angeles Times: “He has a sterling record in Washington as a litigator, appearing before the Supreme Court 39 times over more than a decade, and few he has encountered have anything bad to say about him; even legal adversaries such as Walter Dellinger, a Solicitor General in the Clinton Administration, praise him.”

Harvard Law Professor and outspoken leftist Laurence Tribe: “I know John Roberts. I think he’s brilliant …”

Former Al Gore and anti-Microsoft Attorney David Boies: “Judge Roberts is a brilliant lawyer, a brilliant judge. He is a very careful judge, a thoughtful judge. I would agree with what the President said earlier. He is a decent man. I think everybody who knows him likes him.”

Piggish Senator Charles Schumer: “There’s no question that Judge Roberts has outstanding legal credentials and an appropriate legal temperament and demeanor.”

Michael Hussey