The pointless litany of Roberts complaints

The national reaction to Bush's pick of John Roberts for the Supreme Court has been schizophrenic from the get-go. The mainstream media ho-hummed the nomination almost to oblivion, while progressive activists and reporters dug deep to find the dirt that we all suspected was swept under Roberts' all too normal-looking visage.

To recap: Roberts has conveniently forgotten that he was a member of the hard-right group's steering committee in Washington DC.

Roberts wrote in 1985 that any judicial decisions barring prayer in public school are " 'indefensible' under the Constitution."

Again in 1985, Roberts called a memorial service for aborted fetuses, proposed by the California Pro Life Medical Association, "an entirely appropriate means of calling attention to the abortion tragedy."

And according to the American Prospect, on the issue of detaining prisoners unconstitutionally, Roberts "argued that it would be constitutionally permissible to strip all federal courts -- including the Supreme Court -- of jurisdiction over issues on which its rulings displeased the elected branches."

Obviously, everyone is entitled to change his mind, especially 20 years after the fact. The media has publicized Roberts' pro bono work for a pro-gay rights group, among other good deeds. But these glimpses into the depths of Roberts' beliefs, coupled with Bush's typical stubborn unwillingness to release his papers, give reasonable cause to oppose, or at least question a bit more publicly, his ascendance to the most powerful court in the land.

And all this is pretty much a guarantee that our spineless Washington Dems won't put up a fight against him:


"No one's planning all-out warfare," said a Senate Democratic aide closely involved in caucus strategy on Roberts. For now, the aide said, Democratic strategy is to make it clear Roberts is subject to fair scrutiny while avoiding a pointless conflagration that could backfire on the party. "We're going to come out of this looking dignified and will show we took the constitutional process seriously," the aide said.

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