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Judge John Roberts: Too Soon to Jump Off the Cliff

This note was forwarded to me today. It had been posted on a criminal defense list-serv by a criminal defense lawyer and law school classmate of Judge John Roberts. I don't know the author, but I thought I would share it:

I suggest that we not all go running off the cliff here.

John Roberts has the best professional credentials of any nominee in the last twenty years. He's not a raving nut case, and he's not a Scalia or Thomas wedded to an agenda without regard to precedent or process. I went to law school with Roberts and we were in the same study group first year. He's the most intellectually gifted person I have ever met, including the professors. He is also one Hell of a nice guy.

We are not going to agree with him, but we weren't going to agree with anyone Bush nominated to this senate. It might be better to wait for the next fight, building a little credibility with the American public for when the critical next seat comes open. Defeating someone does little good unless there is a prospect of a more palatable second nominee, and that is not likely here.

On the other hand, U.S. District Court Senior Judge John L. Kane, Jr. tells the Denver Post:

“As I understand his record, he’s never been in a trial himself. He’s spent most of his time in the solicitor general’s office, an elite group that handles Supreme Court litigations. Has he ever sat down in a stinking jail cell and talked to someone about rights under those circumstances?”

< Cheating Prosecutors, Lying Cops, and Wrongful Convictions | Liberals vs. Liberals on John Roberts >
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    Re: Judge John Roberts: Too Soon to Jump Off the C (none / 0) (#18)
    by Che's Lounge on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:59:41 PM EST
    ras, One other issue that will come before the court will be gay marriage. Now that Canada has legalized it, can it become the "rule of "law" in the US?

    Re: Judge John Roberts: Too Soon to Jump Off the C (none / 0) (#19)
    by ras on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:59:41 PM EST
    Che's, One other issue that will come before the court will be gay marriage. Now that Canada has legalized it, can it become the "rule of "law" in the US? Well of course it can. Or not. Will it? Dunno. The US is under no obligation to follow Canadian precedent, just as Canada is under no obligation to follow US precedent. This is a good thing for both countries (Canada and the US are separate countries, which is why Canadian precedent doesn't have to apply in the US) O Canada Our Home And Native Land True Patriot Love In All Thy Son's Command Patriotism and Christianity in one are part of Canada's heritage, and as you can see, are reflected in our national anthem. The US may, or may not, choose to emulate us. Your choice. BTW, if you all ain't been to a few hockey games up here, you might be surprised by how seriously them words is sung. It's Bud The Spud From the bright red mud Rollin' down the highway, smilin' The spuds are big on the back of that rig And they're from Prince Edward Island They're from Prince Edward Island So too is Stompin' Tom, eh? And if you're confused by that, you might best keep livin' south of the border: Canada wouldn't be at all what you think it to be.

    Re: Judge John Roberts: Too Soon to Jump Off the C (none / 0) (#1)
    by Patrick on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:27 PM EST
    The author, none other than Karl Rove. Just kidding...But hey, can you believe anything you read in this day and age?

    He is also one Hell of a nice guy.
    Well that seals it for me. Why even bother asking him any questions...bring on the up or down vote. In the "I'm not making this up department"; the last time I heard that phrase was from a used car salesman. I was referred to that particular lot by one of my co-workers. When I mentioned his name to the salesman, he looked non-plussed for a moment then blurted out "Oh yeah...I remember him...a heckuva nice guy...heckuva nice guy." Then he prceeded to try selling me a lemon.

    Highly competent? A competent man committed to reversing 20th jurisprudence is the worst sort of nominee. He's a dedicated corporate lawyer and a loyal radical Republican politico. If he's *good* at it, so much the worse.

    Re: Judge John Roberts: Too Soon to Jump Off the C (none / 0) (#4)
    by ras on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:27 PM EST
    Too soon to bash John Roberts? Too soon to jump off a cliff, either? Too soon for a new metaphor? Seriously, given that TL is pretty connected to the Dems, it sounds more like she's giving everyone a heads-up. The candidate is a good, strong one, and the Dems will mount only token sound-bite opposition to him, and hope for a better target next time. Ernesto, you might also wish to consider the pts I made in the prev thread about Roberts, that he himself sometimes disliked the very laws he was nonetheless obligated to uphold, including some of the cases I have heard people here complain about. And he was willing to say so in his written opinions. You are confusing his personal views with his legal rulings; they are not necessarily the same: rule of law and all that.

    i guess in the study group the effects of strip mining and indefinite detention and a hanger to the uterus didn't come up. i don't think we should filibuster this guy (though i think edith clement was a hundred times better). but we need use this opportunity to tell america the truth about republicans.

    Re: Judge John Roberts: Too Soon to Jump Off the C (none / 0) (#6)
    by Rich on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:27 PM EST
    About 20 years ago, I became acquainted with a guy who was considered to be one of the most intellectually gifted academic psychologists in our cohort of recent PhDs. He was, among other things, "a nice guy". His name is Wade Horn and he is currently a political appointee in this Administration. He expounds on and funds many dumb ideas to build families (making sure that the pool of perspective husbands could make a decent living would do more than any of his neo-evangelical nonsense). Impressive nice guys can turn into dogmatic people with dangerous amounts of power---talk to your friend about that, Jeralyn.

    i don't think we should filibuster this guy (though i think edith clement was a hundred times better). but we need use this opportunity to tell america the truth about republicans.
    There it is. Any Bush nominee is going to be conservative. We lost that battle back in November. The questions now are: Is he so conservative that Democratic senators should vote against him? Or is he so conservative that Democratic senators should do everything in their power to prevent his confirmation? These are clearly separate considerations.

    Re: Judge John Roberts: Too Soon to Jump Off the C (none / 0) (#8)
    by Austin Mayor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:27 PM EST
    We are not going to agree with him, but we weren't going to agree with anyone Bush nominated to this senate. It might be better to wait for the next fight, building a little credibility with the American public for when the critical next seat comes open. Defeating someone does little good unless there is a prospect of a more palatable second nominee, and that is not likely here.
    If John Roberts is an inevitable Supreme Court Justice -- and it sure looks like he is -- then the best that the Dems can do is to make the GOPers pay a heavy political price for nominating someone so conservative. Yes, in the end, they will almost certainly have yet another right-wing extremist on the bench, but we don't have to give it to them for free. Making Bush expend political capital in support of the Roberts nomination leaves him with less to spend on Social Security privatization, on protecting Karl Rove and on supporting right-wingers in the mid-term elections. Battling Bush on this front weakens him on others, and we need to fight him every step of the way. Just because you will inevitably lose a particular battle, that doesn't mean that you shouldn't fight it anyway.

    Re: Judge John Roberts: Too Soon to Jump Off the C (none / 0) (#9)
    by DonS on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:27 PM EST
    Credentials? I see a lot of years as a Republican politcal hack. About four raking it in at a Republican law firm. And a couple as judge. I can believe he's bright. All the better to screw you with my dear.

    Re: Judge John Roberts: Too Soon to Jump Off the C (none / 0) (#10)
    by Domino on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:27 PM EST
    The smart and nice guy is going to take away our right to an abortion.

    Roberts' most dangerous decision, issued just last Friday, when, as part of a panel of appeals judges, he upheld Bush's outrageous claim of dictatorial powers: the right to dispose of anyone he arbitrarily designates an "enemy combatant" as he sees fit; in this case, sending them to the kangaroo court "military tribunals" he has concocted. It looks like he is the perfect candidate for the rolling coup d'etat - more power to the pResident - less power to the law. People like him scare me. What do they want from us? My elderly aunt summed it up nicely when she said "Democrats want to govern the people, and Republicans don't want them to."

    Re: Judge John Roberts: Too Soon to Jump Off the C (none / 0) (#12)
    by ras on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:27 PM EST
    So-Called, Remember, in a fight, both sides expend their capital; ask Tom Daschle. And because Roberts is a such a good nominee, with bipartisan support already, the Dems will have to spend much faster than the R's will. That's why TL is already telling you not to bash and jump.

    Re: Judge John Roberts: Too Soon to Jump Off the C (none / 0) (#13)
    by Sailor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:27 PM EST
    Too soon to bash John Roberts? Too soon to jump off a cliff, either? Too soon for a new metaphor? Seriously, given that TL is pretty connected to the Dems, it sounds more like she's giving everyone a heads-up. The candidate is a good, strong one, and the Dems will mount only token sound-bite opposition to him, and hope for a better target next time.
    It's impossible to say what quals he has yet because he's only been a judge for 20 months. BTW, rightwingers are attacking him also, see (if you don't mind turning to stone;-) ayn coulter.

    You are confusing his personal views with his legal rulings; they are not necessarily the same: rule of law and all that.
    ras..please gimme the name of someone in the Bush admin who is even remotely interested in the rule of law...just one, ok?
    The questions now are: Is he so conservative that Democratic senators should vote against him? Or is he so conservative that Democratic senators should do everything in their power to prevent his confirmation?
    Quaker...I think you have to look at the Court as an entity...it is losing a justice who was not as hard right as Rehnquist. It appears Bush is replacing her with someone who is. It's a NET LOSS and therefore THIS is the battle that needs to be fought, more so than the next one. Rehnquist is pretty much a wash...it's very hard for Bush to get someone much worse. Not that I doubt he would try...

    Re: Judge John Roberts: Too Soon to Jump Off the C (none / 0) (#15)
    by ras on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:27 PM EST
    Ernesto, please gimme the name of someone in the Bush admin who is even remotely interested in the rule of law Sure: George W. Bush, president, who just nominated a constitutionalist for SCOTUS with a demonstrated philosophy of following the law regardless of whether he agrees or disagrees with it. That's Rule Of Law, by definition. If you wanna change that definition to mean "only those laws that agree with the liberal viewpoint, regardless" then that's another matter entirely and our discussion must end in semantics.

    Re: Judge John Roberts: Too Soon to Jump Off the C (none / 0) (#16)
    by Aaron on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:27 PM EST
    Although I'm skeptical of any one sitting on the Supreme Court with so little judicial experience, I think this was far and away the best pick that George Bush could have made, given his limited choices. Ideology aside, John Roberts impresses me with the caliber of his mind. A true scholar, his successful record of arguments before the Supreme Court speaks volumes about his abilities. Likely Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas were both intimidated by the power of his logic when he argued before them. In comparison they are both mental midgets. Unfortunately, given the underhanded, secretive and stealth tactics of the Bush administration, it's quite possible that he is a wolf in sheep's clothing. Someone who pretends to be one thing in order to advance their career, while hiding their true self. We'll see. That said, I think he will be easily confirmed, especially considering his credentials and the fact that there is no one that the Bush machine could nominate who would be more acceptable to either side. While he appears to have some antichoice leanings, there's no knowing whether his ideology will influence his decisions on the bench, I hope not. But if he shows the ethical structure which his background suggests, those on the right will be sorely disappointed. Because he'll be siding with Souter, a true judicial scholar, every time and quietly laughing at Scalia and Thomas, the way smart people always laugh at the feeble arguments of their underlings. If so look for him to make Chief Justice someday.

    ras, Well, I think I might have seen it all now. The guy that launched an illegal war against the wrong dude, the guy who likes the notion of "opting out" of the Geneva Convention and who knows what other laws, the guy that has placed himself above the Constitution and Due Process, that guy is your example? Holy effin crap! He's interested in Rule, he's interested in riding his bicycle (when he can stay on it), but the Rule of Law? Please.

    Re: Judge John Roberts: Too Soon to Jump Off the C (none / 0) (#20)
    by wg on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:28 PM EST
    I don't know but the guy strikes me as a prototypical legal accountant if you know what I mean. Pulled out from some dusty judicial closet into a bright daylight which sort of explains his haircut style and the expression on his face. Looks like he will be more than happy to disappear again, back into that insularity that is the sad fate of our judiciary. Also given that I have little expectations of our judiciary, I don't care that much, the gentleman is fine with me.

    Re: Judge John Roberts: Too Soon to Jump Off the C (none / 0) (#21)
    by Austin Mayor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:28 PM EST
    please gimme the name of someone in the Bush admin who is even remotely interested in the rule of law Sure: George W. Bush, president, who just nominated a constitutionalist for SCOTUS with a demonstrated philosophy of following the law regardless of whether he agrees or disagrees with it.
    ras, I was just about to reply in all seriousness to your earlier comments when I read this and realized that you must be joking.

    Sure: George W. Bush, president...
    Look, just because he ain't in jail yet doesn't mean he's for the rule of law...it just means he has been living just above it. My prediction...Roberts will vote to overturn Roe v. Wade when given the chance.

    If John Roberts is an inevitable Supreme Court Justice -- and it sure looks like he is -- then the best that the Dems can do is to make the GOPers pay a heavy political price for nominating someone so conservative. That is exactly what the Dems must do. We need to stay on the Traitorgate -- it is blowing up. Rove may just be small potatoes.