July 19, 2005

John Roberts nominated for SCOTUS

[Cross posted from MY VRWC]

By now everyone knows, of course. Here's an article from February about Roberts from law.com:

Yet those who know Roberts say he, unlike Souter, is a reliable conservative who can be counted on to undermine if not immediately overturn liberal landmarks like abortion rights and affirmative action. Indicators of his true stripes cited by friends include: clerking for Rehnquist, membership in the Federalist Society, laboring in the Ronald Reagan White House counsel's office and at the Justice Department into the Bush years, working with Kenneth Starr among others, and even his lunchtime conversations at Hogan & Hartson. "He is as conservative as you can get," one friend puts it. In short, Roberts may combine the stealth appeal of Souter with the unwavering ideology of Scalia and Thomas.

But this take on Roberts puts some of his biggest boosters in a quandary. They praise Roberts as a brilliant, fair-minded lawyer with a perfect judicial temperament. But can that image as an open-minded jurist co-exist with also being viewed as a predictable conservative?

Florida personal injury lawyer Dean Colson of Colson Hicks Eidson in Coral Gables, who has known Roberts since they clerked for Rehnquist together in 1980, side-steps the question.

Colson calls Roberts "the smartest lawyer in America," someone who will "approach the cases with an intellectual viewpoint. I don't view him as having an agenda to promote."

But does that mean conservatives can't count on Roberts? "I don't know the answer as to how he would vote on specific issues," says Colson. "I would never ask him, and I hope he never tells anybody what he would do."

Mark Levin, author of "Men in Black," a new conservative critique of the Supreme Court, sees no conflict and is a fan of Roberts. "In the short period he has been on the court, John Roberts has shown he does not bring a personal agenda to his work. He follows the Constitution, and he is excellent."

E. Barrett Prettyman Jr., a longtime Roberts fan and lifelong Democrat who worked with him for years at Hogan, says that if anyone can be both judicious and predictable, Roberts can.

"He respects the Court greatly, and would not ignore precedent," says Prettyman. "But if there's a loophole or a distinguishing factor, he'd find it."

An article from (his alma mater) Harvard University's Harvard Crimson:
Many in Washington speculate that Roberts may be a good choice if Bush wants to avoid a confirmation fight. The New York Times reported last week that members of both parties raised Roberts’ name in a favorable light.

A roundup of some of his previous decisions at Free Congress Foundation’s Judicial Selection Monitoring Project

From the Committee for Justice, a press release:

July 19, 2005
Sean Rushton

CFJ Congratulates President on Roberts Nomination

WASHINGTON, DC - The Committee for Justice, which promotes constitutionalist judicial nominees, today congratulated President Bush on nominating Judge John Roberts to the U.S. Supreme Court and called on the Senate to confirm him without delay.

“John Roberts has had one of the most distinguished legal careers in modern times,” CFJ Chairman C. Boyden Gray said. “His outstanding education and career, high character, and faithfulness to the Constitution make him an excellent fit for the court at this moment. His nomination is a solid first step towards returning the federal judiciary to its proper role in our system.”

Before becoming a judge on the powerful Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit, Roberts was possibly the finest appellate lawyer in the nation, arguing 39 cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. After graduating with honors from Harvard undergraduate and law school, Roberts clerked for Second Circuit Judge Henry Friendly and Associate Justice William Rehnquist of the U.S. Supreme Court. He served as Associate White House Counsel, and as Principal Deputy Solicitor General. Roberts is 50, married with two children, and a Roman Catholic.

“While we know liberal senators will resort to hyperbole against Judge Roberts, we call on moderate and red state Democratic senators such as Ben Nelson (Neb.), Joe Lieberman (Conn.), and Mark Pryor (Ark.) to ensure a fair and respectful confirmation process,” Gray added. “It seems to us that a justice who will not use his power to redefine traditional marriage, strike under God from the Pledge of Allegiance, and undermine private property rights is well within the mainstream of American public opinion and legal thought.”

C. Boyden Gray was White House Counsel to the first President Bush.

To see more from the blogosphere about the Roberts nomination, N.Z. Bear has an aggregator.

See also: Bench Memos at NRO

The SCOTUS Nomination blog has "Selected Opinions by Judge Roberts" and "Elsewhere on the Information Superhighway."

Posted by Beth at July 19, 2005 10:31 PM | TrackBack
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