One last try on the Roberts issue. He is clearly smart – but here are my two main objections to him.
1) We just simply don’t know enough about him. It’s too important a job to hand to someone who has been cultivated as an unknowable. What are they holding back by refusing to release those papers? I think that the Senate should be able to see all documents related to Roberts’ government service before voting on a confirmation. What we do know about Roberts doesn’t bode well for the future of civil/human rights in this country, and isn’t that what we’ve been bragging about all these years? It’s AMERICA, it’s a free country. A letter signed by 160- law professors sums it up this way
The record made available to date suggests that Judge Roberts holds a limited view of Congress’ authority to enact key worker, civil rights and environmental protections and a similarly narrow view of the vital role our courts and our government play in safeguarding individual rights, especially civil and women’s rights. In contrast, Judge Roberts holds an expansive view of presidential power and law enforcement authority. If transformed into decisional law, these views, taken together, could produce a government with little power to protect its citizenry and a citizenry with greatly reduced power to protect itself from the abuses of government and other powerful interests. In other words, they could produce a national order contrary to the promises of our Constitution and the rights it guarantees.
I don’t like what I see with Roberts – bad associations spoil useful habits, and he’s in pretty tight with some interesting situations and associates. He even denied his membership in the Federalists Society (why would he deny it – every Bush nominee in the courts has been a member).
2) There is an actual legal problem here. Some call it the “appearance of a conflict of interest” but I call it simply sleezy. No, it’s not a new perfume.
Roberts met with Gonzoles to talk about the nomination before he heard arguments in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld. His face-to-face interview was on the same day he ruled in the administration’s favor. No, he did not recuse himself. And would he, being considered for nomination, then rule against the administration on the case? It stinks. How would you like it if one of the judges in your case was meeting for job interviews with the other side? I mean, think it through. And this wasn’t just any case. Hamden was an important case for the administration.
From the Washington Post:
What makes this case somewhat unique is that it involved the top contender for the Supreme Court presiding over a case at the heart of Bush’s anti-terrorism strategy. A lower court had ruled last year the administration could not use a military commission to try Salim Ahmed Hamdan, who admitted to serving as the driver for Osama bin Laden. Hamdan, like many other suspected terrorists, was detained at the prison in Guantanamo Bay and accused of belonging to the al Qaeda terrorist organization.
Prisoners of war are historically tried in courts-martial rather than by commissions. But the Bush administration pushed hard for the military commissions, in part, to make it harder for defendants to ascertain the evidence against them. On the day of the ruling, Gonzales hailed the three-judge panel’s ruling for reaffirming the president’s “critical authority” to determine how to handle detainees.
I do not approve of the way many of the Democrats are giving in on this, and I think they will live to regret it. They are too busy figuring out how best to position themselves and are guilty of complicity by way of basic cowardice. I’m using this vote as a yardstick.
Please – write and call your Senators and tell them that you oppose Roberts.