Sunday, September 18, 2005

WaPo on Roberts: Confirm Him

   The Washington Post is spot-on concerning the confirmation of John Roberts:

Judge Roberts represents the best nominee liberals can reasonably expect from a conservative president who promised to appoint judges who shared his philosophy. Before his nomination, we suggested several criteria that Mr. Bush should adopt to garner broad bipartisan support: professional qualifications of the highest caliber, a modest conception of the judicial function, a strong belief in the stability of precedent, adherence to judicial philosophy, even where the results are not politically comfortable, and an appreciation that fidelity to the text of the Constitution need not mean cramped interpretations of language that was written for a changing society. Judge Roberts possesses the personal qualities we hoped for and testified impressively as to his belief in the judicial values. While he almost certainly won't surprise America with generally liberal rulings, he appears almost as unlikely to willfully use the law to advance his conservative politics.

   More importantly, the Post should be commended for looking beyond any immediate misgivings it -- or Senate Democrats -- might have.

For this reason, broad opposition by Democrats to Judge Roberts would send the message that there is no conservative capable of winning their support. While every senator must vote his or her conscience on the nomination, the danger of such a message is considerable. In the short term, Mr. Bush could conclude there is nothing to be gained from considering the concerns of the opposition party in choosing his next nominee. In the longer term, Republicans might feel scant cause to back the next high-quality Democratic nominee, as they largely did with Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer.

Emphasis mine. Maybe Chuck Schumer really is waking up at night wondering how he is going to vote on this nominee. If he's not, given the tension between the position WaPo articulated and those held by AFJ, PFAW, NARAL, etc., maybe he should be.

   After all, he has a party-wide Senate campaign to run next year.


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