OK, I confess: I'm a political junkie. I've spent far more time over the past two days watching the confirmation hearings for Judge John Roberts, nominated by President Bush to be the 17th Chief Justice of the United States, than I'd care to admit. (In fact, the hearings are continuing right now, and I'm kinda in a hurry to get back to the TV screen, in case I'm missing anything...)
A number of the senators on the Judiciary Committee, before whom Judge Roberts is appearing, have attempted to paint the Judge into a corner, hoping to force him to reveal his thoughts about certain issues that clearly are of significance to the questioner, including the Judge's views on abortion and the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision of the Supreme Court, and aspects of the laws regarding civil rights. One Senator, Joseph Biden, Democratic Senator from the state of Delaware was often, in my opinion, downright rude, accusing Judge Roberts of filibustering, of giving misleading answers (translation: the answers weren't what Sen, Biden wanted to hear), of not answering the questions, even of engaging in a "Kabuki dance" before the committee. Many of the senators from the Democratic Party made extensive use of memoranda wriiten by Judge Roberts while he was working in various capacities for the Reagan Administration in the early to middle 1980's. I thought, "Gee, I wish I could go and quickly find statements uttered by folks such as Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California back in that time period," and question them about the positions they held then. Even more -- I don't know the right word to use here: disgusting? appalling? nauseating? -- was the spectacle of people such as Sen. Biden, who was shown a number of times to have plagiarized the works of others in speeches and even college assignemts, and Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Massachusetts), who, as some of you may know, was responsible for the death of Mary Jo Kopechne, who drowned in a car that was driven by Sen. Kennedy at Chappaquiddick in June, 1969, lecturing Judge Roberts on the "people's right to know" his views and feelings on a number of issues.
Through all that I have seen, Judge Roberts kept his cool, even when he "spanked" Sen. Biden (finally!) at the end of the second round of questions put by the Senator this morning -- respectfully, coolly, calmly, yet directly and forcefully -- saying, quite plainly for all to hear that his personal views and beliefs do not enter into his functioning as a judge -- as Senator Jon Kyl (R-Arizona) later described it, the personal opinions and beliefs of Judge Roberts are "irrelevant" to the process whereby a judicial decision is achieved. Judge Roberts has been very articulate, and the caution he shows in giving his response is undoubtedly indicative of the caution and care with which he crafts his decisions, and will continue to do so when he is confirmed as the next Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. These qualities alone, regardless of his political, religious, or cultural beliefs, make him in my mind, eminently qualified for the position to which he has been nominated.
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6 years ago