Ringside for History: John Roberts for Supreme Court
White House photo
by Eric Draper
This has been a great day for those of us who are accused of being idealists.
The President did what he promised to do.
He nominated a man who appears to take the Constitution seriously. And he didn’t cave in to gender politics. He didn’t make the O’Connor vacancy into the “women’s chair.”
There are some conservatives today who are raising doubts. Ann Coulter in her reliably no-holds-barred way wonders if Roberts will be another Souter:
Finally, let’s ponder the fact that Roberts has gone through 50 years on this planet without ever saying anything controversial. That’s just unnatural.
. . .If a smart and accomplished person goes this long without expressing an opinion, they’d better be pursuing the Miss America title.
And Fred Barnes thinks that Roberts is a “safe pick” but that he won’t vote to overturn Roe v. Wade:
But [social conservatives] dream of the day when there are five votes on the court to reverse the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, which legalized abortion. Now there are only three. Is Roberts likely to join a anti-Roe bloc on the court? Probably not.
Those criticisms, particularly Fred’s, give me pause. But here is John Hinderaker’s response to Ann’s article:
Ann is just wrong about this one. Frankly, it’s hard to believe she’s serious. Calling John Roberts a “stealth” candidate is ridiculous; he has been on everyone’s short list of preferred conservatives, along with Michael Luttig and Michael McConnell, for a long time. When David Souter was nominated, we–and conservatives everywhere–said, “David who?” When Roberts was nominated, we broke out the bubbly. Ann occasionally goes a bit overboard, but I can’t remember a time when she has been this totally misguided, and, as I said, I have a hard time believing she’s serious. Maybe, as Roger Simon suggests, it’s triangulation.
And, I like the fact that Roberts’ wife is legal counsel for Feminists for Life, and used to be Executive Vice President of their Board. Good group.
Of course we really don’t know for sure. But people who know him are saying that he won’t “grow in office” as has Anthony Kennedy, and so many others who get seduced by the Washington power culture. John Roberts appears to be a great jurist and a really good person. The latter an even more important point in my book.
Let me give the last word to Bill Kristol. Okay, I admit: partly because he said some awfully nice things about me in his column today — thank you, Bill — but in truth, because I agree with him. With this nominee, the President showed integrity and a political courage rarely seen in this town:
By simply going for the best person, by not worrying about walking out to the podium last night accompanied by a white male, Bush did something important and courageous. He showed that he knows that on really significant matters, one has to ignore political correctness and political pandering, and even political convenience. For this lesson, as well as for an intellectually impressive and politically sound choice, Bush deserves a lot of credit.
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