Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Rough waters for John Roberts


Advocacy groups are emerging to take stands on the Roberts nomination. Predictably, the right is for it and the left is against it. But there is now at least one exception to that rule of polarized partisan politics: A group called Public Advocate of the United States (a "pro-family" organization) has declared its opposition to Roberts. Why, you ask? What could have driven them to such a heretical position? Why, gay rights in Colorado, of course:

The Colorado gay rights case involved Amendment 2, a constitutional amendment approved by voters in 1992 that would have barred laws, ordinances or regulations protecting gays from discrimination by landlords, employers or public agencies such as school districts.

Gay rights groups sued, and the U.S. Supreme Court declared the measure unconstitutional in a 6-3 ruling in 1996.

What was Roberts's grave sin? Well, "[his] role in the case included helping develop a strategy and firing tough questions during a mock court session at Jean Dubofsky, a former Colorado Supreme Court justice who argued the case on behalf of the gay rights plaintiffs". Shame on him, obviously. (In case you're a literalist, this is called sarcasm. I think my views on gay rights are quite clear (and well-known to many of you): see here, here, here, and here.)

Last year, Eugene Delgaudio, the president of PAUS, criticized Vice President Cheney for saying that "freedom means freedom for everyone". How did Delgaudio put it? "'Freedom' is not embracing perversion." That should tell you all you need to know about this latest addition to the anti-Roberts campaign.

I understand (and sympathize with) the opposition of certain liberal groups who worry about Roberts's views on abortion, privacy, and civil rights, but, as I've written before, he seems to me to be an acceptable nominee who could turn out to be a pleasant surprise as Supreme Court justice.

Don't get me wrong: He's not perfect, and he wouldn't exactly have been my pick, but is he really so bad?

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  • I think it's going to be difficult for the Democrats to really stop this nomination. Some people (such as my wife) think Roberts is a "stealth" nominee--ie, that he gives the appearance of moderation but once on the court would move to the right. I doubt that myself. He is definitely conservative, but I don't see him being a fire eater like Scalia or Thomas.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:12 PM  

  • Ah, yet another spam comment. Shall I delete it? No, not for now. The "anonymous" comment above is clearly, well, bullshit couched in meaningless praise.

    Anyway, I agree with you, Marc, and this is the question I would ask Roberts's opponents (on the left): What did you expect? And what would you expect from a different nominee? If not Roberts, it'll be someone like Luttig or McConnell. No Bush nominee will be perfect, so it's a matter of dealing with reality. And, to me, reality indicates that Roberts isn't (and won't be) so bad.

    By Blogger Michael J.W. Stickings, at 4:53 PM  

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