Tuesday, July 19, 2005

John Roberts

I recently attended a DC Bar symposium on potential nominees to the Supreme Court. The speakers were all court correspondents, and one of them, Tony Mauro (Legal Times and American Lawyer) wrote an even-handed profile of Roberts. Here's the link.

The crux of the profile is that Roberts is a very conservative, very intelligent and very well-liked judge. He had a fabulously successful career as an advocate before the Court -- he won 25 of 39 cases argued -- and has the reputation in some circles as the best oral advocate before the Court in the last decade or so.

I can't claim any familiarity with his record other than what I read this evening. Evidently, the Alliance for Justice morons will claim that he is a worse nominee than Jerry Fallwell because he was the sixth attorney whose name was on the government's brief in Rust v. Sullivan. But what I have read about him, from more sober people of either political persuastion, is that he is unlikely to be the right-wing bomb thrower that NARAL, et al, are claiming.

Also, I happened to meet John Roberts last fall at an alumni event for Holy Cross -- his wife is an alumna (as is mine). On a totally superficial level, I have to say that he was incredibly friendly, approachable and easy-going.

UPDATE: DailyKos is hyperventilating about the length of time it took to nominate Roberts in light of the Rove/Plame story (i.e., this nomination was a frantic, harried attempt to distract from the "yeah, that's what I heard, too" scandal). Good message discipline, Kos.

There's also this nonsequitur of a comment:

So who is this guy Roberts? He has only two years of judicial experience, and his legal advocacy can be dismissed as doing the bidding of his bosses.

Pure, unadulturated hokum. (1) Would Kos object to the lack of judicial experience of Earl Warren, William O. Douglas, Thurgood Marshall, Abe Fortas or Hugo Black, all of whom had no judicial experience, never mind two years? (2) Doesn't all legal advocacy boil down to doing the bidding of one's bosses, i.e., one's client?


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