July 19, 2005

Let the hearings begin

from - Buck

Wouldn't you hate to be John G. Roberts Jr right now?

For the next few weeks his life will be looked at under the glaring light and microscopic scrutiny that only 15 second sound bites can give. Every word of every sentence twisted and turned in a thousand ways depending on which side is doing the analysis.

Of course I had never heard of the man and have no idea where he stands on any issue. Concerning abortion he did once say

"The court's conclusion in Roe that there is a fundamental right to an abortion ... finds no support in the text, structure or history of the Constitution

so I figure he will catch some hell for that. But I will wait and see how this pans out.

I was most impressed by the fact that when the time came to exit the podium tonight he did have enough sense to stop the President in his tracks as he allowed his wife to exit ahead of both of them. George was going to walk off and leave her standing there like a potted plant.

At least John G. Roberts Jr understands that in front of every good man there is an even better woman.


Posted by Buck at July 19, 2005 09:31 PM

I'll enjoy seeing Jon Stewart's report on the announcement.

I guess I don't have much to say about the SC... I'm just glad that Bush didn't go with Abu Gonzales.

Most of the rest of it is over my head. I care mostly about the 1st & 14th amendments, with all that implies. I don't think our nominee is too strong on the 1st... but I knew better than to expect Bush to nominate Wise Old King Solomon, anyway.

Oh well.

univar.jpg Posted by smijer on July 20, 2005 10:47 AM
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At face value Roberts nomination seems reasonable.

From a character perspective, his stopping W to wait for his wife as they walked back into the White House showed a lot.

From a legal perspective he seems reasonable. He doesn't have a huge set of opinions that provide a complete insight into the way he will decide things but his approach seems to be similar to stopping and waiting for his wife.

Of all the discussions on his opinions I've heard the one I like the best is his ruling on the little girl that was eating french fries on the train (something that is apparently illegal). Paraphrasing what I heard....it was totally silly for police to do this to a child but from a legal perspective they had the right to arrest/detain her.

This apparent understanding that the role of the court is not to re-write laws that are silly (writing / re-writing silly laws in Congresses job) but rather to apply the Constitution to the laws that are written is a refreshing look at what the role of judges is supposed to be.

Just out of curiousity, are the 1st and 14th amendments more important than the others? I'd kind of like a judge that is familiar with all of them. Maybe then we'd stop getting rulings like Kelo v New London where it appears that five of the judges totally missed reading the 5th amendment.


univar.jpg Posted by m on July 22, 2005 07:51 AM
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Hmmm.... the french fry case was amusing. I read most of that ruling, and I guess I see the logic he applied, but I disagree with it. I don't particularly care for his narrow interpretation of the 14th amendment in that case.

I wouldn't say that any of the bill of rights are less important than the 1st & 14th amendments, nor is the remainder of the constitution to be treated like toilet paper. However, I have personal interest in the 1st and 14th amendments. I see 1st amendment rights under attack in modern politics, and I personally take advantage of those freedoms more often than most of the others. The 14th amendment is especially important to me because it is a catch-all protection for everyone. Without its incorporation clause, the states could deny us any of the freedoms guaranteed by the constitution. Without its equal protection clause, the state could enshrine discrimination into law.

The second amendment is also regularly threatened, but I'm not personally interested in excercising it... and of course I have a pretty moderate position on gun control anyway.

The fifth, as you mentioned, was just undermined by the Supreme Court, and that was quite an affront, but that's a relatively recent development, and I haven't had time to get very interested in that aspect yet. Probable cause for search and seizure is also getting some abuse recently - and I would sorely like to see that corrected... but again, I haven't had a long time to get worked up about it. Also, its hard to separate the wheat from the chaff of the flurry of heated arguments revolving around the patriot act, and now the NYC subway searches.

It would be a shame to catch a terrorist in the act, then have him get off the hook because of an illegal search.

But, yes... the whole constitution matters... as do "evolving standards" used to interpret it, as does judicial precedent.

univar.jpg Posted by smijer on July 22, 2005 06:08 PM
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