Roberts Isn’t Showing His Hand on Abortion

If you’ve been watching, listening to or reading about the confirmation hearings of Judge John Roberts for Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, you’ll have noticed how smart Roberts is. He has everyone confused on where he stands on abortion, the issue which is at the center of the hearings, the main concern of both Republicans and Democrats. Neither can hide that fact.

Roberts Won’t Show His Hand

Jill Zuckman of the Chicago Tribune Washington Bureau writes in Wednesday’s paper:

More than civil rights, more than property rights, more than the environment, the issue of abortion has insinuated itself into every aspect of the Supreme Court confirmation process. And it seems to be frustrating nearly everyone. Perhaps because abortion touches on such core issues as life and death, women’s autonomy, personal health and morality, it seems to have a power unmatched by any other subject in American political life.

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.

Zuckman paints a picture of Democrats trying by every means to trick Roberts into showing his hand. He throws them a few bones. He says he supports precedent, and admits that it is a “jolt” to the legal system to overrule a precedent. He suggests that Roe v. Wade is now a precedent. He said he finds a right to privacy in the Constitution, though it is not written there.

On the other hand, he once wrote that Roe is wrongly written. In the article, Sen. Sam Brownback (R, KS) calls the abortion issue ” a 600-pound elephant in the room, and that’s what everyone is looking at.”

Zuckman rightly notes that abortion is a battle of absolutes: “One camp considers abortion murder, and says it should be forbidden,” she writes, ” while the other sees it as a basic human right that should be guaranteed.” Roberts’ answers to questions about Roe gave no comfort to liberals who wanted an explicit promise of support for the high court ruling that legalized abortion.

But neither did he give much comfort to social conservatives who hope Roberts will work to overturn Roe. Pro-lifer Gary Bauer says he was left with little more than a feeling that Roberts might be on the side of those trying to derail abortion rights. He says, “There’s a decent chance that he will,” but says neither Liberals nor Conservatives can be sure where he will eventually come down.

Zuckman says our society has utterly failed to resolve the abortion issue and that many legal scholars question the reasoning in Roe, which is based on the finding of an implied right of privacy in the Constitution. She says whatever the ultimate legal outcome of the abortion situation in America, significant portions of the population will be angry and unhappy.

For the time being, abortion continues to be a litmus test in political campaigns and judicial nominations, because abortion is not an abstraction but a fundamental, concrete issue affecting people’s lives. While the Ted Kennedys, Joe Bidens and Dick Durbins have tried to force Roberts to show his hand on specific cases to disclose how he would rule on abortion, Roberts is just too smart for them.

Hearings an Interesting Show

One good thing to come out of these hearings besides the evidence of Robert’s brilliance and control, is the public’s opportunity to see just how really uncouth, shallow, mindless and comical his opponents are. Clowns all, these senators should appear in pointed hats, red rubber noses and big, floppy shoes.

While Senator Arlen Specter is pro-abortion and has also tried to get Roberts to show his hand on abortion, he has at least tried to silenced Kennedy and Biden several times to let Roberts talk, and actually said it is not unreasonable for Roberts to avoid answering questions concerning cases that he may have to rule on if he is confirmed for the High Court.

A Chicago Sun-Times story along the same lines headlined “Roberts dodges abortion questions,” quotes Roberts quoting Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, ” no hints, no forecasts, no previews.” Watch the hearings on TV or listen on radio. Or read it in the papers. It’s an intriguing show.

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