Judge John Roberts: Staunch Law and Order Man

I've noted that Judge John Roberts is no friend of the criminally accused. The Wall Street Journal (free article) confirms this today. It's worse than I thought.

While Roberts doesn't have an extensive judicial record on criminal issues, his positions as Deputy Solicitor General are troubling, first because he helped decide what cases the office should accept and second, because of information emerging that he is a staunch law and order man.

...one issue that has gotten less public scrutiny has been his staunch law-and-order record. During Judge Roberts's time as principal deputy solicitor general in the administration of George H.W. Bush, his office chose to get involved in dozens of state cases to limit the rights of criminal defendants. The cases backed state prosecutors seeking to preserve convictions won with warrantless searches and confessions obtained without Miranda warnings about the right to remain silent; to dismiss claims by inmates of "cruel and unusual punishments"; and to validate aggressive law-enforcement techniques, such as sobriety checkpoints and "protective sweeps" of crime-infested dwellings.

According to Judge Roberts himself, promoting law and order -- a bedrock priority of Republican presidents since Richard M. Nixon -- marked his years in the solicitor general's office, at least as much as limiting abortion rights or opposing racial set-asides. That stance set apart the policies of a "conservative Republican solicitor general" from a "liberal Democratic one," he wrote in a 1993 opinion article published in The Wall Street Journal.

It gets worse:

In 1992, Judge Roberts helped prepare a brief arguing that if a defendant was convicted in a fair trial, it was constitutional to execute him regardless of new evidence suggesting his innocence. A 6-3 Supreme Court agreed, and the Texas inmate was executed four months later.

...Judge Roberts's office fought to help states speed executions by limiting appeals and to reverse a state-court ruling that such victim-impact statements violated the Eighth Amendment, which guarantees protection from "cruel and unusual punishments."

On Election Day 1992, Judge Roberts himself argued before the Supreme Court that police should be able to falsely promise prisoners leniency in exchange for confessions, and that convicts had no right to raise Miranda violations in federal habeas corpus petitions if the claim already had been made in state court. A 5-4 Supreme Court rejected the argument.

Given the cases on next term's docket, Roberts' beliefs could be a very bad sign.

Already on the court's next term, which begins Oct. 3, are cases pitting condemned prisoners against prosecutors eager to cut off their appeals and others testing the limits of landmark Warren Court rulings that created the Miranda warning and enforced the exclusionary rule, which bars admission of evidence police obtained in violation of constitutional rights, such as the Fourth Amendment protection from "unreasonable searches and seizures."

The unfortunate part about this is that Senators rarely care about offending the accused. They aren't a big voting bloc. Which means, there may not be very much questioning of Roberts on criminal justice issues and constitutional rights of the accused. The Democrats' litmus test is more likely to be abortion rights rather than due process for those accused of crime.

The Senators should care. Here's why.

Other Related Posts: Judge Roberts on the Death Penalty

< Legendary Defender Tony Serra Sentenced to 10 Months | Justice Stevens Blasts Capital Punishment >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    Re: Judge John Roberts: Staunch Law and Order Man (none / 0) (#1)
    by squeaky on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:02:02 PM EST
    Filabuster unless they cooperate. Since that is all public information, I wonder how bad the docs they won't hand over, claiming bogus att client privilege.

    Re: Judge John Roberts: Staunch Law and Order Man (none / 0) (#2)
    by ras on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:02:03 PM EST
    Squeaky, Filibuster? Oh, Please do! BTW, the attorney-client privilege in this instance is well established. You can make a case for or against it in theory, but in practice it's been accepted by both parties long before Roberts came on the scene. TL, Is this gonna be the Dem reason for opposing Roberts?, that he's a "law and order man?" To quote that great political observer, Tony the Tiger . "g-r-r-r-eat!" This mean you're working for the Republicans now?

    Re: Judge John Roberts: Staunch Law and Order Man (none / 0) (#3)
    by roger on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:02:03 PM EST
    "Law and Order" usually is code for letting the police and persecutors do whatever they feel like. The "Law" is usually of very little concern. Sadly, Ras is probably right. With "Law and Order" and all of the other bloodthirsty propoganda passing as "entertainment" the public has little understanding of how things work in the real world.

    Re: Judge John Roberts: Staunch Law and Order Man (none / 0) (#4)
    by cpinva on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:02:03 PM EST
    while it's nice to see judge roberts has apparently got the "law & order" thing down, i would be even more impressed were he to spend some time on the "truth, justice and the american way" thing as well. oh, nuts, that's superman! never mind!

    Re: Judge John Roberts: Staunch Law and Order Man (none / 0) (#5)
    by squeaky on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:02:03 PM EST
    ras- you spinster...hope you are getting paid for your bs. The recent spinners referred to Clinton's legal team as a distinguished bunch of bi- partisan legal experts who believe that att client priv is binding here . Well the spinners forgot to mnention that the distinguished team representing Clinton lost their case. The courts ruled that there was no privilege because the lawyer was working for the public. Why do you think Bush and Cheney had to get their own lawyer early on in the Plame case?

    Re: Judge John Roberts: Staunch Law and Order Man (none / 0) (#6)
    by cpinva on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:02:03 PM EST
    when last i checked, the DOJ works for the american taxpayer, not the president. therefore, as the client, i have the right to waive privilage. consider it waived. an argument could reasonably be made that since all government is paid for by the taxpayer, confidentiality in government matters should be used only sparingly, the exception rather than the rule. i think that's more or less the basis for the FOIA. i paid for it, i own it.