Right Wing Nut House



Filed under: Supreme Court — Rick Moran @ 6:21 am

For the forseeable future, Judge Roberts would appear to be the kind of Supreme Court nominee we’re likely to get; relatively young, limited service on the appellate bench, hence, limited ammunition that can be used by the President’s political opponents to block a potential nominee.

In short, with nothing much to hang their hat on with regards to Roberts’ record, the Democrats will be forced to make his appearance before the Judiciary Committee a time for speechifying rather than serious questioning of the candidates qualifications.

This will no doubt anger their more rabid partisans at the Alliance for Justice, People for the American Way, and the other far left organizations who have taken over the grass roots of the Democratic party. But the fact is, unless some transgression committed by Judge Roberts can be found, there is very little chance the Reid-Boxer-Kennedy wing of the party can block him.

Looking at statements made by the few center-left Democratic Senators left, the President should be encouraged. Here’s Senator Ben Nelson (D-NE):

The best case scenario for Judge Roberts, the President and the country is for Judge Roberts to emerge from these proceedings with broad appeal. There’s always a danger in being defined as an activist judge with an agenda and a willingness to legislate from the bench. The confirmation process will shed light on Judge Roberts’ and what kind of Justice he might become.”

Senator Landrieu (D-LA):

“As I wrote the President last week, I hoped for a nominee who could unite the nation and muster the enthusiastic consensus support that Justice O’Connor and six other current Justices earned. As the Senate examines Judge Roberts’ credentials and hears his testimony, we will begin to learn whether this support is attainable.

And Senator Lieberman said last week that if Roberts were picked, he would “be in the ballpark” as far as acceptability.

These three Democrats, along with Mark Pryor (D-AR) and perhaps Ken Salazar (D-CO) could make this a fairly easy confirmation if they get on board early enough. Their support would more than offset any opposition from Repbublican moderates like Chaffee and Snowe.

Lincoln Chaffee may be a lost cause given that he’s in a tight re-election fight in liberal Rhode Island. But the Maine Senate duo of Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins would probably be inclined to support Roberts despite his being wobbly on Roe. As for others in the gaggle of 7 GOP Senators who voted to stop the nuclear option, Senators Graham, Warner, and McCain will almost certainly vote to confirm and Senator DeWine will want to start repairing the damage he did to his base in Ohio following his participation in the “gang of 14.”

What are the prospects for a filibuster? Captain Ed has an interesting scenario:

My prediction: we will see a Bolton-style stall tactic, where the Democrats demand more and more documentation from prior cases, and then filbuster when the White House finally balks. The Democrats started this tactic during Miguel Estrada’s confirmation hearings.

Interesting scenario but, I think unlikely. First of all, unless the Democrats are going to demand raw FBI reports on Roberts, just about everything else is about him is in the public domain. As far as his work at the Justice Department in the late ’80’s and 90’s, I’m almost certain the White House has vetted that documentation very carefully and would probably make them part of the confirmation package they send to all Senators on the Judiciary Committee. In short, unless the White House rushed the nomination in order to drive the Rovian mess off the front pages and have been careless in their vetting of the nominee, I doubt whether the Democrats could stall the nomination by asking for “further documentation.”

Here’s some reaction from some of the saner members of the left:

Out Loud:

the gop controls all three branches of our government. it’s just not going to happen. this doesn’t look like the “extraordinary circumstances” that was part of the filibuster deal. in addition, we are basically sitting where the GOP was when clinton got his two picks. the GOP mustered token opposition, but ginsburg and breyer got through easily.

Shadow of the Hegemon:

According to common sense, he’s worth of a filibuster if anybody is.

According to Demosthenes, he’s a test of courage. If the Dems don’t act, they’re invertebrates.


You know what? If Republicans are forced to use the nuclear option to confirm Roberts, then so be it. As far as I am concerned, that is the only way he should be confirmed. People will pay attention to this one. We just have to make the case ot them why he was unacceptable.

Daily Kos (Kos Post):

So who is this guy Roberts? He has only two years of judicial experience, and his legal advocacy can be dismissed as doing the bidding of his bosses.

Fair enough. I’m willing to hear the guy out. We’re not going to get a Ginsburg, but I’d be happy with an O’Connor-style moderate conservative. For all we know (and for all the religious-right knows), Roberts might be that sort of guy.

But he has to be honest and forthcoming, unlike his previous confirmation hearing. The Senate must take its time deliberating over the nomination. And this is something that all sides should want, not just ours. For all the right wing knows, this guy may be the next Souter who simply pretended to be virulently anti-privacy.

I think that if the Senate Republicans can peel off 3 or 4 Democratic Senators then the prospects of a filibuster are lessened considerably. There would be two reasons for this:

1. Reid may not want to appear to be too obstructionist.
2. Senate Democrats may want to save the filibuster to use against a successor to Rehnquist.

By getting 58 or 59 votes to confirm, Reid and the left may want to throw in the towel on Roberts and keep their powder dry for the day when Rhenquist finally leaves. And, as some believe, if Rehnquist is delaying his announcement until the fall, the confirmation battle would butt up against the 2006 Congressional elections. This would give the Democrats exactly what they want; a bruising confirmation fight where they would force the Republicans to “destroy the constitution” in order to confirm the President’s choice.

Then again…I may be completely wrong and Reid, Boxer, and the entire Democratic party may be under such pressure by the moonbats at Moveon that perhaps they’ll feel they have no choice but go to the mat over Roberts. Are they that stupid?

Time will tell.


Captain Ed has an excellent round-up of major newspaper editorials that show some respect for Bush’s political skills in choosing Roberts as well as a measured “wait and see” attitude that’s somehow refreshing. The Captain also correctly identifies a probable line of attack against the nominee:

On the other hand, the LAT finds the two issues I think will likely be the biggest hurdles of his confirmation, apart from Roe: his membership in the Federalist Society and his recent vote upholding military tribunals for terrorist detainees at Gitmo and elsewhere. Given the recent histrionics in the Senate involving Gitmo, I expect the latter will give Democrats not just an opportunity to beat up Roberts, but to use him as a proxy to grandstand against the Bush administration on the war.

The Powerline crew mentions possible avenues to attack Roberts but curiously leaves out the detainee decision which upheld the idea that the government could create special tribunals for the terrorists being held at Guantanamo. I agree with the Captain that along with his views on Roe, Roberts will receive the most flack for that decision.

Hugh Hewitt has a personal recollection of Roberts that makes him sound compelling:

Judge John Roberts may be the smartest lawyer I have known, and he combines that intellect with a graciousness and good humor that will make it hard for any except the most extreme ideolouges to oppose him. Here’s his bio, but it cannot fully convey the great intellectual force which Justice Roberts will bring to the SCOTUS.

Full disclosure: Judge Roberts and I were colleagues in the White House Counsel’s Office in 1985/1986.

Calling Roberts a “judicial superstar,” Mark Noonan is extremely pessimistic about the prospects for a relatively easy confirmation:

Some people are saying that there might not be that big a fight over this nominee - that with Roberts having been confirmed for his current position by unanimous consent, there is no way “extraordinary circumstances” can come into play; that while there may be some delaying tactics employed, what we should look forward to is a swift and painless confirmation of this nominee. That, unfortunately, is nonsense. Our Democrats, it must be remembered, are entirely enthralled to the far left these days - additionally, we have learned in the Delay and Rove affairs that nothing as trivial as facts and common decency will divert Democrats from their attack-dog tactics. We’re in for a very large and long fight on this nominee.

I don’t usually disagree with Mark but in this case, I think he’s wrong. If Reid can’t get his caucus to march in lockstep on this one - and it appears to me that would be a steep, uphill climb at this point - there’s no way he’s going to advocate a filibuster. Why waste your best ammunition on a lost cause? Better to wait and use it to block either a replacement for the Chief or, more likely, a nominee to fill Rehnquist’s seat. Remember, when Rehnquist goes, there will be two confirmation fights; one on Bush’s choice for a new Chief and one on a replacement for Rehnquist.

And a very interesting take on the battle shaping up between Schumer and Roberts via Thomas Lifson at The American Thinker:

Schumer, who loves TV cameras almost as much as he loves being the smartest guy in the room, is about to clash with a guy who outdid him. John G. Roberts and Chuck Schumer both did the Harvard College and Harvard Law School thing. But Roberts graduated from Harvard summa cum laude, and from Harvard Law School magna cum laude.

These are not just funny words. They mean something. A lot, in fact.

Read the whole thing. I think Lifson has Schumer down to a “T.”


Jeff Goldstein asks the question of questions…the mother of all interrogatories…a plaintive cry from the blogging wilderness that all bloggers ask themselves but don’t have the cohones to actually put out there for all to see:

Question for the blogosphere: Who does a guy have to bang to get included in a roundup these days?

Thirteen updates!

That much work deserves recognition, even if it comes from me and my small, insignificant corner of the Shadow Media. Therefore, in recognition of yeoman’s work done in rounding up reaction from left, right, center, and other planets not of this solar system, I hereby link to Protein Wisdom and recommend that any and all attend to his site and read what Jeff hath wrought.


  1. Rick,
    Robert’s has a presence that will be difficult to demonize. The key is Specter. Specter must set a civil tone for the hearings. He has solid Republican membership that should be able to thwart any attempts by the Democrats to turn this hearing into a circus. If Specter fails, he should lose his chairmanship.

    Comment by Fritz — 7/20/2005 @ 9:10 am

  2. Agreed on all counts, Fritz.

    Comment by Rick Moran — 7/20/2005 @ 9:12 am

  3. And I checked Specter’s website this morning before posting. Not a peep yet. I wonder if he’s trying to gauge how much Democratic support the nominee has before speaking.

    That would be typical.

    Comment by Rick Moran — 7/20/2005 @ 9:14 am

  4. He was on TV this morning making a statement. He is so weak, Hatch was so much better at this deflecting Leahy. I don’t have a problem with a floor fight, but the committee move swiftly. This isn’t the wobbly Foreign Relations Committee.

    Comment by Fritz — 7/20/2005 @ 9:27 am

  5. The ACLU Objects To Court Appointee

    Wow! They don’t waste a minute! Here we go again. The ACLU, a supposedly non-partisan group fighting for the good of all of us, has launched their attack, an attack we told you (Link Here) that they were planning even before any nominees were d…

    Trackback by Stop The ACLU — 7/20/2005 @ 10:57 am

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