Wednesday, July 20, 2005

More on Roberts

While champagne corks are popping all around me, I'm holding back.

Judge Roberts may be wonderful; there are certainly positive signs, no question.

But here's why I'm not so eager to proclaim victory:

Remember why so many are cheering. Of course the White House is; of course elected Republicans are; no surprise.

Many of the conservative lap-dog organizations -- whose main selling point to their donors is that they have an "in" with the GOP -- are doing that.

So discount all that: Orrin Hatch would say almost the same oily, smarmy stuff had Clement been nominated, or Hilary Clinton, for that matter.

OK, who's still cheering; and cheering loud?

The GOP Business Community.

Now, don't get me wrong; they're not enemies. But do they want Roe overturned? They would certainly rather not.

It's clear, they did not want someone "scary" -- i.e., another Bork. I suspect the White House decided that Edith Jones would be another Bork; and they may have wondered if Judge Janice Brown would just pop off at the Senators, and say more embarrassing things like the New Deal was socialism. That kind of stuff makes the business community really nervous.

They got their man.

Does that make him a bad guy? No; but neither does it make him a good guy, on the salient, jurisprudential issue of our time: Roe v. Wade.

Consider what John Yoo -- a conservative, wired-in-to-the-Bush-White-House academic, said to the Washington Post: read his praise of Roberts carefully:

John C. Yoo, a conservative professor of law at University of California at Berkeley who served in the Justice Department in the current administration, emphasizes what he called Roberts's traditional approach to the law. In the 39 cases that Roberts argued before the Supreme Court -- 25 of which he won -- Yoo said he never pushed the court to adopt "big new theories" but rather argued the facts of his cases.

"He's the type of person that business conservatives and judicial-restraint conservatives will like but the social conservatives may not like," Yoo said.

"What the social conservatives want is someone who will overturn Roe. v. Wade and change the court's direction on privacy," he added. "But he represents the Washington establishment. These Washington establishment people are not revolutionaries, and they're not out to shake up constitutional law. They might make course corrections, but they're not trying to sail the boat to a different port."

Hmmm . . . doesn't that sound a lot like . . . ANTHONY KENNEDY?

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