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View Diary: SCOTUS: Actually, We've Already Won (350 comments)

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  •  Not in evidence. (none)
    Other than that, I agree that Roberts is probably one of the least damaging, and least conservative, nominees that Bush could have sent up.

    What is this conclusion based on? In what way do we know that he'll rule any differently than Justice Scalia or Priscilla Owen?

    The only thing I can see so far is that if he is another Justice Scalia, he knows enough to keep quiet about it for now. And call me crazy, but I'd rather America knew straight up what they were getting. In fact, being quieter about it makes it more likely he'll sway Justice Kennedy instead of send him screaming the way Justice Scalia's brusque style often does.

    I fail to see any concrete advantage we're getting here yet.

    •  Can't ask for certainty (none)
      I said "probably". That's as good as we can do, based on his short record as a judge, which is not extremist (contrast that to, say, Edith Jones), his Washington-insider career, and his personal background. There is never certainty, and plenty of history of judges not staying locked into their perceived "ideological slot" -- White, Blackmun, and Kennedy are obvious examples. (IMO Souter doesn't belong in this category; I remember watching his Senate confirmation hearing and telling friends he was going to be another Brennan.)

      Will Roberts be persuasive to Justice Kennedy? Perhaps. More amiable than Scalia? Well, duh. I suppose the best-case scenario is that Kennedy is persuasive to Roberts rather than the other way around. Kennedy and Roberts appear to have similar backgrounds in many ways -- conservative Catholics who grew up in the suburbs, friendly, well-liked, good disposition, etc.

      You make an excellent point, though -- persuading the center of the court is a good goal when a president is choosing a nominee. When Ginsburg and Breyer were chosen, President Clinton hoped that they could be persuasive to O'Connor and Kennedy and help to build "coalitions" on the court as Justice Brennan always did. Maybe no one will ever do that as well as Brennan, but if Roberts is as likeable and non-egotistical as his reputation indicates, he may well do better at that than any conservative justice ever has.

      Of course, this may be much ado about little -- I said above that Roberts would likely vote very much like Rehnquist, and you're concerned that he's going to vote like Scalia. That's a pretty subtle distinction, for the most part. I think that Scalia's differences with Rehnquist are often driven by Scalia's temperament, and Roberts is far from having a Scalia-like disposition.

      This is how liberty dies... with thunderous applause.

      by socal on Wed Jul 20, 2005 at 11:29:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Actually, just to be clear (none)
        If I had the choice of another Scalia or another Renquist, I'd rather Scalia--who, every now and then, is prone to rare bouts of loyalty to the Bill of Rights.

        _Hamdi_ is the latest example of that.

        I believe that Roberts is going to be significantly out of the mainstream, more charming than Justice Scalia, and on the court for another thirty years.  I think we can insist on a more moderate judge.  I'd even take one that was going to overturn Roe if they were solidly centrist on other, more important issues.

        I know it's hard to think of more important issues, but there are some.  The First Amendment is one, separation of church and state is another, the lack of imperial powers for the President is a third.

        I am, however, resigned to the fact that there will never be another Justice Marshall or Justice Brennan for the rest of my lifetime.

        •  Well... (none)
          It's hard for us to argue that Roberts is "significantly out of the mainstream" if he's pretty much like Rehnquist. We have to explain to a public saddled with attention deficit how it is that Rehnquist is out of the mainstream when he's been on the court for over 30 years without the country disintegrating.

          If there is no Brennan or Marshall for the rest of our lifetimes, it is because we are not successful in putting presidents and senate majorities in place to make that happen.

          This is how liberty dies... with thunderous applause.

          by socal on Wed Jul 20, 2005 at 08:36:04 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

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