Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Note to Democrats: Here Comes Chief Justice Roberts

OK... so I'm probably coming out on my first post since being away and I'm going to piss everyone off. So be it.

Democrats need to ask Chief Justice nominee John Roberts the TOUGH questions today, and then vote to confirm his nomination, barring any HUGE discoveries on the basis of that questioning. Guess what? There won't be any.

Democrats need to get over it, and not only confirm, but overwhelmingly confirm his nomination, and here's why. Simply put, it's a net gain in the long view of the Supreme Court. The best that can come of a REALLY bad situation.

Initially, Roberts was nominated for an Associate Justice position, taking the place of Sandra Day O'Connor. Although most liberal groups immediately launched their attacks on the nominee, it could be argued that Roberts was ideologically not going to shift the Court to the Left or the Right in replacing O'Connor.

However, he's now taking the place of the late Chief Justice Rehnquist. In the long view, it is impossible not to acknowledge that Roberts is far more moderate than Rehnquist.

This morning, in taking questions from the Chair, Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA), Roberts largely acknowledged the precedent of Roe V. Wade, all but saying that he wouldn't overturn it. He acknowledged that the Right to Privacy is constitutionally protected. These answers more than likely pissed off quite a few conservative groups right out of the box. What's not terribly surprising is that Specter bucked the Bush Administration and raised all of these issues immediately, prior to anyone else getting a chance at the nominee. What IS surprising to me is how many liberals don't understand that this nominee is about as good as we're likely to see, given the circumstances. Would it be great to see another Ginsberg nominated, or perhaps even U.S. Appeals Court Judge Sonia Sotomayor? Yes, but it certainly won't happen under the current Administration.

Democrats were incredibly hard pressed to find any significant dirt on Roberts (and by dirt I'm not speaking of issue-related "dirt" because we can all find SIGNIFICANT areas of disagreement with this nominee - instead, I'm speaking of something significant enough to derail the nomination), and while it is the incredibly important responsibility of Democrat Senators to ask the tough questions of John Roberts, most would simply be seen as obstructionists if they held up this nomination.

So, Roberts will become Chief Justice. And all things being taken into account, he will be a significantly more moderate Chief Justice than Rehnquist ever was.

At this point, Bush will nominate someone else to fill the Associate position vacant by O'Connor. At this point, it becomes a new game, with a new opportunity to scrutinize the record of a nominee.

Democrats will have a FAR stronger position in rejecting what will more than likely be a far more conservative nomination for the Associate position if they are able to stand on the grounds that they did not hold up the nomination of Roberts.

And what if the nomination for the Associate position is not a radical Right Wing Conservative? Well, then it's a win-win.

Let me again remind Democrats - WE DIDN'T WIN THE ELECTION - our party bet on John Kerry, remember?

No matter how much we whine and complain and protest, we will not be seeing a liberal or left-leaning nomination to the Supreme Court until we win elections in 2006 and 2008. That may suck, but it's the hard truth.

Don't believe for a second that there is a single Senator currently serving who honestly believes that John Roberts will not be confirmed. So, everyone will ask the questions that need to be asked - not so much for the sake of trying to actually sway people away from voting for Roberts, but simply to be on the record as having asked the tough questions. Posturing and positioning, if you will. Preparing for election seasons in 2006 and 2008.

When it comes down to it, and as cynical as it sounds, that's part of the game.

Does PTF endorse John Roberts? Hell, no. But does PTF see these confirmation hearings as largely academic, and an exercise in pressing the flesh? Absolutely.

Posted by FleshPresser at 11:31 AM /


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