Democrats & Liberals Archives

Judicial Nominees: Republican vs. Democratic

After throwing out the decoy Edith Clement, Bush picked John G. Roberts Jr to fill O’Connor’s seat on the U.S. Supreme Court. Roberts is young and does not have much of a paper trail. He is a stealth candidate. Why the decoy? Why the stealth? This is the way Rove-and-Bush Republicans operate: dazzle the public but do not give them the facts - which often hurt their cause of fighting for the rich and powerful. Democrats, however, believe in rationally discussing the facts - which usually support their cause of fighting for all Americans.

As soon as Bush announced the name of Roberts, Republicans of all stripes came out and lauded Roberts to the skies. All said the same thing: Roberts is a nice guy, he is very smart, everybody thinks he is a top-notch lawyer, he is not explosive and he is not ideological. In passing they let us know he is a "traditional conservative." There is no reason for Democrats to worry. Only extremist groups would object.

Unlike Republican senators, who had already made their decisions, most Democratic senators have not yet done so. They want to get the facts. They want to see what Roberts stands for. Senator Schummer is typical. He said yesterday that he voted against the confirmation of Roberts last time to the Appeals Court because Roberts refused to answer his questions; he hoped that Roberts would answer properly this time.

I have doubts about whether he will answer the questions. One reason for my doubts is this remark by theocrat Tony Perkins, the president of the Family Research Council, the same outfit that gave us Justice Sunday to support the "nuclear option":

"The president is a man of his word. He promised to nominate someone along the lines of a Scalia or a Thomas, and that is exactly what he has done."

Another reason for my doubts is this remark by theocrat James Dobson, head of Focus on the Family:

"Justice Souter was what some called a black box. No one knew what was in it. I think we do know a lot about Judge Roberts from his life, from his record, from the things that he has stood for. And we feel much more comfortable with this nomination than we would have with Justice Souter."

So, here you have 2 theocrats, Perkins and Dobson, saying Roberts is one of them - a theocrat.

The chances are good that Roberts will be confirmed. In the worst case, he will be confirmed after the "nuclear option" is exercised. So why do I bother with this article? It is instructive to show how a Democratic candidate would differ from a Republican candidate such as Roberts:

  • ABORTION - Roberts has said that Roe vs Wade should be "overruled." He argued a case that stopped some doctors from even discussing abortion. He defended Operation Rescue, the outfit that terrorizes women seeking abortions. A Democratic judicial candidate would not superimpose his religious convictions on the rest of us, but favor allowing people to exercise their own consciences with reference to abortion

  • PRAYER IN SCHOOL - Roberts argued for the constitutionality of sectarian prayers at high-school graduation ceremonies. A Democratic judicial candidate would most likely favor the separation of church and state; all religious minorities would welcome this.

  • FAMILY PLANNING - In 1991, Roberts served up the government’s case before the Supreme Court in Rust vs. Sullivan, arguing for the right to restrict the speech rights of family-planning organizations that receive public funding. A Democratic judicial candidate would not interfere with activities of family planning organizations

  • ENVIRONMENT - In one opinion, Roberts indicated that he thinks it’s unconstitutional for Congress to protect endangered species from extinction, and our air and water from pollution. A Democratic judicial candidate would protect our environment from the ravages of Big Business
Though he will probably win confirmation, Democrats should and will complain about this stealth candidate. He is nothing like what a good Democratic judicial candidate would be.

If you want good members of the Supreme Court, members who will not be activists but be concerned about the rights of all citizens - Christian and non-Christian, employers and employees, rich and non-rich - vote for Democratic senators in 2006.

Posted by Paul Siegel at July 21, 2005 3:55 PM