Carol Platt Liebau: "Polarizing" Coverage of Roberts

Friday, August 05, 2005

"Polarizing" Coverage of Roberts

Newsflash -- John Roberts worked on some "polarizing cases" when he was principal deputy solicitor general!

Well, of course he did. The solicitor general's office represents the United States in many of the most difficult and contentious cases before the Supreme Court . . . the US court of last resort. Where else would the most difficult and polarizing cases go?

Two sentences in the piece are highly instructive:

Because Roberts is not speaking publicly ahead of his confirmation hearings, they believe the documents can provide insight into the legal philosophy of the 50-year-old appellate judge and whether his appointment might shift the high court significantly to the right. [emphasis added].

The latter consideration -- whether the Roberts' appointment would "shift" the Supreme Court -- shouldn't be any part of the Democrats' concern. Of course it will, in all probability. That's what happens when the country elects a Republican president. If the Democrats don't like it, well, they know what to do -- get a Democrat elected (if they can).

It's worth remembering that Ruth Bader Ginsburg was nominated to succeed Justice Byron "Whizzer" White -- a conservative. There wasn't any hand-wringing on the Republican side (and certainly none in the press!) about whether she would "shift" the court to the left . . . it was understood that she would. It was also understood that elections have consequences, and this was one of them.

The second quote from the linked piece that bears noting:

At least some solicitor general communications have been released to senators in the past, during the failed nomination of Robert Bork by President Reagan. Democrats seized on the extensive paper trail and used it to help scuttle Bork's appointment.

One can only hope that The White House remembers this history, so that we're not doomed to repeat it.


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