Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Bush delivered for his corporate base: John Roberts

Well, we're screwed.

John Roberts practiced as a corporate lawyer and is a member of the Federalist Society.

That means trouble.

The Federalist Society guys are, by and large, radical in their activism of getting judges to impose the 18th century view of politics on the 21st century.

When they talk about strictly following the Constitution, that's what they mean: follow what the wealthy white men of the late 1700s thought about politics and justice and equality, not what people in 2005 believe.

And that is a radical change. Which is not at all a good thing for the United States.

For a long time, the Supreme Court was the bulwark of the reactionary forces, striking down attempts by Congress (elected by the people) to make life better with laws like a minimum wage and mandatory overtime after 40 hours a week.

Things could go that way again with the replacement of a moderate conservative like Sandra Day O'Connor who voted to uphold precedent in a bunch of big cases with an ideological conservative like John Roberts who will likely join the far right firebrands.

It's entirely appropriate for Democrats to veto a nomination based on ideology. Judges are rulers, and anyone who is 'very' conservative is by definition outside of the mainstream. That's reason enough to veto an appointment.

Stand strong Senate Dems! John Roberts might be intelligent and polite, but we deserve a mainstream Justice to replace a moderate conservative like O'Connor.


MDS said...

But there's nothing the Democrats can do. I'm sure he'll get mostly 'no' votes from Democrats, but that doesn't matter; Bush has all the support he needs.

Dan, you seem concerned mostly about Roberts' views on fiscal issues, but I'm actually more concerned about social issues. I keep hearing people describe him as a "devout Catholic," which in recent years has come to be a code for completely opposing abortion or gay rights. Of course, most of these devout Catholics somehow find a way around the church's teachings on war, aid to the poor, and capital punishment.

Lazerlou said...

I worry about both. It is going to be sad when precedent is started to be rolled back. I promise you, the whole penumbra theory of sybstantive privcy rights. States are going to be left to decide whether abortion is legal and whether gays have marital and domestic partner rights. As a plaintiff's lawyer, I can tell you you should fear for enforcement of regulation, fear for heightened and almost impossible causation standards in consumer fraud and tort, and fear for the end of the class action device. Certifying a class is going to get a lot harder, as well as maintaining a class large enough to justify following through. Oh yea,expect entanglement of religion and governemnet too! This guy is a Scalia fan when it comes to establishment clause jurisprudence. There really is no separation of church and state to the originalist and federalists, and government conduct that does not constitute an establishment of religion is far far broader than what the current caselaw says. I'm scared because I promise Roberts is going to be the moderate appoinment too! He is the consensus candidate! We're going to get an irrational zealot when Renquist goes, not a rational idealogue.

MDS said...

The good thing about Rehnquist (apprently) sticking around another year is that if Bush appoints a hard-right judge to replace him a year from now, that could play to the Democrats' favor in the 2006 elections.

Vasyl said...

I really don't know much about Roberts. It doesn't sound like he's been an activist on the social issues, which is good (notwithstanding the briefs he wrote on abortion in the HW Bush Administration). His wife's involvement in Feminists for Life (or some such group) worries me, but imo he's mostly a stealth candidate on the social issues.

What does worry me is his apparent support of the "new federalism." He wrote a decision overturning a government action because it protected an endangered species that lived only in California, hence not affecting interstate commerce.

If Roberts is a guy who believes that the environment can be successfully contained within state lines, I don't want him on the Court.

BuckTurgidson said...

Good point Vasyl -- and to add: why are environmental decisions often brought before the court? Because they stand between someone and money.

And that is at the crux of why abortion, gays, etc. are the strawman of any nominee.

Might Roberts toe the conservative party line on social issues? Bet on it.

But more importantly, and under the radar, largely, he's likely to rule in favor of big business interests every single time.

Bill Baar said...

18th Century was a good century for revolutionaries. If Robert's a radical, maybe that's why.

I'm still with FDR on the court packing scheme. I find a supreme court too undemocratic for my taste.

So-Called Austin Mayor said...

If John Roberts is an inevitable Supreme Court Justice -- and it sure looks like he is -- then the best that the Dems can do is to make the GOPers pay a heavy political price.

Yes, they will almost certainly have yet another right-wing extremist on the bench, but we don't have to give it to them for free.

Making Bush expend political capital in support of the Roberts nomination leaves him with less to spend on Social Security privatization, on protecting Karl Rove and on supporting right-wingers in the mid-term elections.

Just because you will inevitably lose a particular battle, that doesn't mean that you shouldn't fight it anyway.

Anonymous said...

Due to the down economy and slow recovery, a lot of people may be leading somewhat subsistence-level existences. Such people may be discouraged and have a hard time wanting to study the nuances of Supreme Court justices. This may not be a good excuse for ignorance yet it is real. This problem may be more pronounced in Illinois than other states.

Anonymous said...

Aren't there studies that show the stock markets do better during democrat presidents (vs Republicans)? Why? There may be a lag between the impact of policy decisions of Republicans and positive stock market activity. Maybe Democrats are better for markets - more stability means people invest more. Not sure.

n. y. krause said...

Dan, that "18th century view of politics" that you are referring to is our United States Constitution. You know, the one that empowers the federal government to do anything at all? It says right there, in Article VI, that it is "the Supreme Law of the Land". Enforcing it is a requirement, not an option.

Anonymous said...

The Harvard machine provides cover and ammunition for the confirmation.

Anonymous said...

I've asked this before and I'm still wondering about an answer: Isn't Roberts just a Ginsburg of the Right? I mean, he's an accomplished Supreme Court advocate with a solid legal mind and lots of experience working in government. I understand he's conservative, but what did you expect? The country reelected a conservative president. It expanded the GOP's hold on the U.S. Senate. This very nomination was a hot topic in those elections. I'm not suggesting that liberals should be happy, but, man, they should realize it could have been a lot worse, don't you think?

Anonymous said...

And fellow Harvard law grad Barack Obama has not yet decided how he's gonna vote on Roberts. Shocking, I know. Maybe those hearings have a point.

Anonymous said...

It might take a Harvard person to be secure enough to go against the machine.

Anonymous said...

What scares me the most is his wife. Did you see how she dressed her children? Her son was wearing a shorts-suit with saddle shoes!?! Is this 1965? It looked like she was doing her best Jackie Kennedy impersonation. No thanks. Give me someone closer to 2005.

Lazerlou said...

Yea, he and his wife remind me of some of my class mates in law school. Wantonly ambitious. Little personality. Just tons of hard work. married either in college or just after. The promising thing about those people was they were sort of meek and apolitical. They were fantastic legal thinkers but not much else. Conservative yes, but not passionate and idealogical. It was the difference between being just a Federalist and being in the Edmund Burke society. What does this all mean? He might not vote to roll back the more fictitious constitutional rights to privacyy abortion sexual behavior, etc. Stare Decisis might actually matter to the guy. But yea, his wife is on the board of feminists for life - they are definitely creepy creepy conservative catholics.

respectful said...

"getting judges to impose the 18th century view of politics on the 21st century." I guess that's Dan's euphemism for following the framer's original intent. Are rights more secure when justices follow the original intent, or when they arbitrarily redefine what the Bill of Rights means?

If Dems establish that ideology alone is sufficient grounds for rejection, then that precedent will apply to future Dem presidents.

Anonymous said...

What happened to Bethlehem Steel?

Lazerlou said...

I promise rights are more secure when constitutional jurisprudence actually advances in a steady and forseeable fashion. The world has changed a lot in 220 years. They didn't have abortion back then. They didn't have minorities that were considered actually human either, they didn't have birth control, nor did they recognize the existence of non christians. WHy would you stick to strict interpretation when the world and our country has changed so much. That you claim constitutional jurisprudence is arbitrary in the absence of following narrow original intent shows that you don't actually know much about constitutional law. Stciking to the spirit of the consititution is what has been done. Originalist belived that property rights encompassed owning black people and women. Are you aying we should resort to the founders original understanding of personal property? Now that would reveal you as a bigot, and not so "respectful."

respectful said...

Lou sets up the following straw man: "Originalist belived that property rights encompassed owning black people and women. Are you aying we should resort to the founders original understanding of personal property?"

I'm for following the Constitution, which BTW prescribes a way to make needed changes. It's not by loose interpretation by 5 of 9 justices. It's the amendment process. You've heard of the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments haven't you?

Obviously I don't think we should follow obsolete parts of the original document that have been changed by amendment. The Founders didn't expect that either. Instead we should follow the Constitution as amended via the democratic prescribed process.

Anonymous said...

Actually, Lazerlou, they DID have abortion back then. If you read Roe v. Wade, a lot of the discussion is the state of English and American common law REGARDING ABORTION at the time the U.S. Constitution was signed.

"It is thus apparent that at common law, at the time of the adoption of our Constitution, and throughout the major portion of the 19th century, abortion was viewed with less disfavor than under most American statutes currently in effect. Phrasing it another way, a woman enjoyed a substantially broader right to terminate a pregnancy than she does in most States today. At least with respect to the early stage of pregnancy, and very possibly without such a limitation, the opportunity [410 U.S. 113, 141] to make this choice was present in this country well into the 19th century. Even later, the law continued for some time to treat less punitively an abortion procured in early pregnancy."

Lazerlou said...

Hmmm, You learn stuff every day. i had no idea that they had abortion back then.

As for the constitution, it sucks in many respects, especially with regard to the amendment procedure. Outside of the bill of rights, banning drinking, reinstating drinking giving the vote to women and 18 year olds, ending slavery, and the few substantive amendments you mentiond (Thank god for the 14th amendment!!) there hasn't been much action on the constitutional amendment front, oh yea, save a flag buring amendment. Jesus.
Yea, the founders made it way to hard. So in the absence of any real ability to amend the constitution, you are left with sheer necessity to expand it as the world become more complex.
All I know is that it will be the biggest tragedy in our History is Bush and people like him are successful in rolling back subnstantive due process rights. Privacy, although not explicitly stated as a right in the constitution is so fundamental to most people's conception of what constitutional freedoms are. A country in which each state is left to decide whether its citizend can fuck whom and how they want, and whether a woman has a right to terminate a pregnancy is not a country I want to live in. This guy is going to do that. He is a fearful repressed catholic white guy. He thinks God decided to inseminate a human and have a god-son so he could sacrifice him as consideration for all our flaws and sin. Jesus. I mean, who are these people running our country. The wrong people. The only ones who want power are total freaks.

Yea, the constitution is not that perfect and it is comical to think that the original words and intent are sufficient to encopass all the fundamental human righst issues that pop up in our country.

And I promise, many of those 5-4 decisions would have been 8-1 if you didn't have abigot, a sexually harassing uncle tom and a freakish jesus lover on the court. None of those guys should ever have been appointed or approved.

God do conservatives suck.

Lazerlou said...

And I'm tired of conservative hiding behind the argument that reversing Roe would just leave the matter to the individual states which would be ok. Women could get and abortion in a different state than Mississippi, right? Well that scheme opens the possibility, not that it would ever likely happen, that every state could ban abortion. I can't even conceive of a world wher a woman is not allowed to decide when to be pregnant. Or a country in which it is at least possible that it could be illegal everywhere for two consenting adults to stick their wankers in each others bungholes in the privacy of their own home if they so choose. Doesn't it make you sad. I'm not gay, I even have serious humanistic and ethical criticisms of homosexuality (symptom of gender alienation and the effect of the marketplace on sociosexual behavior) But damn! I'd never even conceive of having a law telling people they can't have sex with whom they please.
Might I reiterate that religious conservatives suck sooooooooo badly.