Follow-Up to Judge John Roberts: A Sugar-Coated Poison Pill

My previous post got some notice and caused a lot of controversy, even among fellow Democrats, with whom I’ve conferred. Although the following won’t appease everyone (which has never been my goal, of course), it does address some serious issues and make some important points, for us and our country…

In the confirmation hearings, I adamantly believe the Democratic senators should ask Roberts point-blank whether he as a person or as a judge agrees or disagrees with each of the controversial positions that his supporters claim he was just supporting as an “advocate” for someone else — parties such as the Reagan and first Bush administrations or large corporate clients that I’m sure he did everything in his power to represent and he lists prominently on his resume.

And by the way, as a fellow liberal pointed out, since when did a THIN resume — lack of experience on the bench, in Roberts’ case — become a positive recommendation for getting a job?!

When faced with such pointed questions, either Roberts clams up — citing the oft-cited Ruth Bader Ginsburg precedent (although contrary to what Karl Rove would lead us to believe, she did indeed answer pointed questions on such subjects as abortion and had eleven more years of decisions on the DC appellate court to review for bias etc.) — or Roberts publicly disavows those positions outlined in that piece I cited — in which case he’ll be branded a hypocrite by most people and he’ll also be disowned by the Right, many of whom are already suspicious of him — or he owns up to them — in which case we Democrats might lose this confirmation battle (barring some new revelation, he’s gonna get confirmed) but we will win the public relations war, and rightly so: We support the much more popular stands on environmental protections, worker protections, minorities’ rights, and women’s rights (some 70% of the public does NOT want Roe overturned, for example).

This nomination was indeed a “cagey” selection — with, thus, Karl Rove’s fingerprints all over it (I wonder if he’ll be able to run Geo.’s White House as well from the slammer) — but if we Democrats “focus like a laser beam” (to quote the most successful Democrat of recent times) on the ISSUES more than on the individual — after all, this is bigger than any one person — then we will make the most of a Golden Opportunity to stand up for what we believe in and make political hay in the process.

Now, I’m just an outspoken blogger, not a lawyer or senator, skilled in the nuances of these things. But watch for what Senator Joe Biden does or doesn’t say or do: He’ll be prominently featured in the judiciary committee hearings; and as a declared candidate for President (praised on the air by my friend Barry Gordon, by the way), you can be sure he’ll make the most of this well-publicized forum.

Doug Drenkow

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