Monday, July 25, 2005


Are You Now Or Have You Ever Been...

...a member of the Federalist Society?

Roberts says he has no memory of being a member -- but his name appears in leadership directory. Given that so many of those supporting Roberts -- in and outside of the administration -- are either members or close allies of the FS, why would Roberts and the WH seemingly rush to distance him? It really makes it look like he either has something to hide -- or is somehow ashamed of the group.

Yes, it is a mainstream conservative legal organization. But, forget about using Ruth Bader Ginsburg as an example of what should and should not be asked of a SCOTUS nomination: How about noting that she was counsel to the American Civil Liberties Union? Yes, the ACLU is considered a "mainstream" legal organization, but its positions quite often place it on the stream's left bank. Downplaying one's residence on the right bank is rather foolish, when it's pretty clear that that's where you are.

In a similar vein, my really smart New York Post colleague, Ryan Sager gives some support to Sen. Chuck Schumer's desire to hear more about where Roberts stands on significant

[Cato Institute fellow Randy] Barnett points to possibly the most disturbing thing Roberts said during his confirmation to the appellate bench. Asked by Schumer about his judicial philosophy, he demurred, saying: "I don't feel that I bring a coherent, universal approach that applies across the board."

"If you put somebody on the court who does not have a way of reading the Constitution that constrains their decisions," Barnett says, "then all the emphasis has to be on the personal and political views of the nominee . . . What else will guide them?"

Roberts may have more solid "conservative" credentials than, say, David Souter did. But that's hardly enough reason for the Senate to confirm, essentially, a blank slate.

Roberts should be grilled.

He should be asked his views on everything — from the Second Amendment to the Commerce Clause to the Takings Clause.

And he should answer. We're not buying a computer. We're trusting a human being with the care of our Constitution.

On his personal site, Ryan buttresses his point by helpfully laying out the transcript of the exchange between Schumer and Roberts at the Judiciary Committee's circuit court nomination hearings.

Not quite germane, but quite funny are Orrin Hatch's most un-Senatorial opinion that Schumer was asking "dumb-ass questions." It's always a hoot to see collegiality occasionally go out the window in the often-moribund U.S. Senate.

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