The NY Times faithfully reprints 55 pages of speeches given by members of the Senate Judiciary Committee today, proving only that this was their day, not John Roberts.’ Pages 55 to 57 (beginning here) reprint Judge Roberts’ opening statement. It is, as one would expect, unremarkable. He spoke of the virtues of precedent and of the limited role judges play in a political process. Judges, it seems, are little more than scriveners who consult the law and apply strict logic to resolve legal disputes in the most reasonable way. All true in theory, but choosing the most reasonable application or interpretation of a law often depends upon which of two or more competing policies the judge favors. If that weren’t true, smart and logical judges would all agree on the correct outcome in every case. The central role played by judicial philosophy (the collective policy preferences favored by an individual judge) went unacknowledged in today’s statement.
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