What Beltway Republicans Need To Do
The premier source for
California political news
your part to do right by our troops.
They did the right thing for you.
tOR Talk Radio
Supreme-ly Intelligent Choice
Attacks on John Roberts Make No Strategic Sense...
Platt Liebau] 7/25/05
with the nomination of Judge John G. Roberts to the United
States Supreme Court, President Bush revealed himself as a
man of great principle – and considerable political skill.
the cheap and easy route of selecting a nominee based primarily
on gender or ethnicity, President Bush chose a superbly credentialed,
intelligent, decent and universally respected white male. As
David Souter was once described, John Roberts is a “home
run” – but this time (in contrast to the Souter
debacle), it’s for the right team.
Carol Platt Liebau - Senior
Platt Liebau is editorial director and a senior member of tOR and CRO editorial
boards. She is an attorney, political analyst and commentator
based in San Marino, CA, and has appeared on the Fox News
Channel, MSNBC, CNN, Orange County News Channel, Cox Cable
and a variety of radio programs throughout the United States.
A graduate of Princeton University and Harvard Law School,
Carol Platt Liebau also served as the first female managing
editor of the Harvard Law Review. Her web log can be found
[go to Liebau index]
and disgruntled conservatives – two groups
that may be considering opposition to Roberts – should
reconsider. Neither side has anything to gain from employing
ugly tactics to prevent Roberts’ confirmation.
First, the liberals.
Certainly, for Ralph Neas of People for the American Way, Kim
Gandy from National Organization for Women
and their disciples on the far left in the U.S. Senate, President
Bush’s pick is a disappointing one. Judge Roberts appears
to be a constitutionalist judge – one who will interpret
law on the bench, not make it – in accordance with the
President’s campaign pledges. His views on abortion are
largely unknown, but the left-wing groups suspect, based on both
his Catholic faith and his judicial philosophy – as well
as his wife’s pro bono work for Feminists for Life – that
he’s no fan of Roe v. Wade.
Even so, it would
be a strategic mistake for liberals to make the confirmation
process a nasty one. Discussions about Judge
Roberts’ faith will only confirm the Democrats in the public’s
mind as a party implacably hostile to religion – and is
hardly consistent with Howard Dean’s recent call for Democrats
to reach out to pro-lifers. Filibustering the nomination will
cement the image of the Democrats as hopeless obstructionists – and
achieve nothing but the triggering of the “constitutional
option,” eliminating resort to the filibuster in other
judicial nomination battles. And even if Democrats were successful
in implementing a “scorched earth” approach to stop
Roberts, their “victory” would hardly increase the
chances of President Bush suddenly deciding to choose a nominee
more to their liking.
The fact is that the
Republicans hold both The White House and 55 seats in the United
States Senate. If Democrats want to choose
Supreme Court nominees – well, they have to start winning
some elections. Until then, Judge Roberts – who may (or
may not) be pro-life, but who is indisputably brilliant and fair
minded – is about the best the Democrats could get.
The strategic calculus
is similar for those on the right. Just last week, Senator
Sam Brownback (R-KS) and conservative writer
Ann Coulter expressed concern about Judge Roberts on the grounds
that he might turn out to be a “stealth liberal,” like
David Souter. Given that every Supreme Court justice is completely
immune from any political accountability once confirmed to the
Court, there’s certainly no way to be certain how a Justice
Roberts might decide any particular case.
But that’s no reason to assail the nomination now. Judge
Roberts has already been identified as President Bush’s
choice. Attacking him from the right achieves nothing, besides
forcing The White House to offer proof of Roberts’ conservative
bona fides – which, in turn, simply offers more targets
for adversaries on the left. And even if, somehow, disgruntled
conservatives forced the President to withdraw Roberts’ nomination,
does anyone think that this “victory” would strengthen
the President’s hand in winning a confirmation battle for
a more militant conservative – even assuming that he would
be inclined to reward those who had derailed his first choice?
Judge Roberts certainly
would not have been the left’s
choice. Some conservatives who don’t know him fear that
he wouldn’t have been theirs, either. The only other fact
the two sides have in common is that neither has anything to
gain – and both have much to lose – through a shortsighted,
misguided attack on a superbly qualified and incredibly decent
Carol Platt Liebau is a political analyst, commentator and
theOneRepublic / CaliforniaRepublic.org editorial
director based in San Marino, CA. Ms. Liebau also served
as the first female managing editor of the Harvard Law Review.
Her web log can be found at CarolLiebau.blogspot.com