Columnists on Left and Right Weigh Roberts Nomination

Chicago Tribune writer Steve Chapman asks what’s the point of Judge John Roberts’ confirmation hearings, and Jonathan Turley thinks it’s time to be very afraid.

Chapman: “Let’s Not and Say We Did”

This juxtaposition of ideologies is interesting and sums up speculation from both conservatives and liberals: Chapman says Roberts will present himself as a humble, open-minded soul and Republicans will extol his virtues. Meanwhile the Democrats will demand to know his views on every issue, but especially abortion.

Roberts will politely avoid telling them his views, will dodge their bullets and be confirmed. Before this happens, though Sen. Patrick Leahy will insist that Roberts disgorge his vital secrets, and Sen. Dick Durbin will try to make him tell what is “in his heart.”

In the end, Chapman says, they will fail. Roberts doesn’t have to tell them all they want to know and anyone smart enough to be picked for the high court is smart enough to find at least a dozen ways to say “None of your business.”

Chapman suggests that Roberts use Ruth Bader Ginsberg as his model. When asked how she would vote on issues like capital punishment, she gave a response that Roberts is no doubt memorizing right now: “I have only one passion and it is to be a good judge and to judge fairly and not tell in advance—not give any hint—about how I am going to decide a question that I have never spoken about.”

She told the Senators they would get no hints, no forecasts and no previews from her as to a future vote. If Ginsberg could do that, and pick up 96 Senate votes, why shouldn’t Roberts do the same? Besides, Chapman says, Roberts may not know how he will vote on ever issue since he doesn’t know how the issues will be presented in court.

Besides, it’s none of their business. Ginsburg obviously saw it that way and wouldn’t bend under their demands. So why can’t Roberts do the same?

Chapman suggests the Senate just go ahead and confirm him, then wait and see what happens. That would be nice.

Turley Sacred of Roberts

Jonathan Turley, on the other hand, is certain Roberts wants to vote to overturn Roe v. Wade. We hope he’s right. Turley says this is because Roberts is a devout Catholic and is married to an ardent pro-lifer.

Turley, who apparently is very afraid of Roberts, says he appears likely to vote with the hard-right on two abortion cases, parental notification and partial birth abortion, and thus narrow the protected area under Roe. We sure hope so, but who knows for sure. We’ll just have to wait and see, but we hope Chapman is right that anyone smart enough to get this far should know how to handle the abortaholics.

Steyn: Dem’s Overplay “Divine Right of Judges”

Mark Steyn in Sunday’s Chicago Sun-Times says the Democrats had their chance to pick a judge the right way, by getting their man elected, without running to court, where they lost this one. He says they’ve been leaving all their legislation to the courts who gave them abortion and gay rights, but then they gave them Bush.

They hated that. By giving them Bush, Bush gave them Roberts and Roberts may help rob them of the gifts the liberal court has been giving them all these years.

Scuttling the democratic process in favor of liberal court rulings may be about to backfire. “The Dems prefer to leave it to the Divine Right of Judges. You might too,” Steyn says, “if you believed in gay marriage and partial birth abortion. But simply as a mater of practical politics, it’s disastrous for the party.”

Byrne: Supreme Court Nomination a “War of Succession”

Meanwhile, Dennis Byrne in Monday’s Tribune says that since the Courts have gradually taken over leadership of the Country, the nomination of a Supreme Court justice has come to resemble a medieval war of succession fought over who gets to occupy the throne. A seat on the Supreme Court now sets every piece of public policy for decades to come, since the Court has taken on unrivaled, nearly unchallengeable and even undemocratic powers.

No wonder, Byrne writes, both sides describe the battle to replace retiring swing vote Justice Sandra Day O’Connor in epic and apocryphal terms, such as “It will forever determine our country’s destiny.” Byrne says that of course this is wrong, but that ‘s where we’re at. So let’s stack the court with our guys.

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