Carol Platt Liebau: Taking It Nice and Easy

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Taking It Nice and Easy

When things go too smoothly, as it seems the Roberts hearings have, it's easy to get nervous. And that, I believe, is part of the reason that some conservatives have become alarmed at discrete parts of John Roberts' testimony. If Teddy Kennedy isn't howling at the moon, Chuck Schumer isn't racing around in search of a television camera like a chicken with its head off, and Pat Leahy isn't foaming at mouth, something must be wrong. Right?

Well, in my view, wrong. As the linked piece indicates, the fact that Roberts refused to disclaim Griswold v. Connecticut signifies little -- Justice Thomas behaved the same way, according to Leonard Leo. And overall, through the days of testimony, it seems that Judge Roberts committed himself to very little that would prevent him from giving rein to his most conservative/originalist instincts.

Aha! some will say. He hasn't "committed himself" -- and that's a problem. Well, no, it isn't, if one looks at the goal and the endgame. Judge Roberts' objective wasn't to send the Federalist Society, Right to Life or any other conservative group into paroxysms of ecstacy. It was to ensure that he could hold his Republican support and peel off a few of the more reasonable Dems. And that means providing no misleading talking points for Ralph Neas and all -- like giving an answer that would allow Dems to claim that he (and the next Bush nominee) want to "take birth control away from Americans."

He's done a good job, for my money.


Blogger Patrick O'Hannigan said...

Agreed. Which is why I didn't take too much umbrage at Judge Roberts' endorsement of the (John F) Kennedy position in the American Spectator article to which I pointed you yesterday, though I think JFK opened a can of worms for Catholics even while trying to shut one.

3:40 PM  

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