Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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Roberts as tabula rasa?

Charles Krauthammer thinks that on constitutional matters, Roberts is a tabula rasa. Bill Kristol is persuaded that Roberts is a conservative on constitutional matters. Worth reading, with a great story by a former law clerk (a liberal) who not only maintains that Roberts is conservative, but also insightfully asserts that given his congenial nature he is likely to have a huge impact on the Court, and "he could ultimately be a progressive’s worst case scenario." Also see Powerline.
And here is
Michael Barone’s take on Roberts: "Justice Roberts will do much to redefine what is the mainstream in American constitutional law."

UPDATE: Anita Hill, the world famous, extremely bright, widely published professor of law--although your memories of her may differ--has an opinion (or two or three) about Roberts. I haven’t heard her name mentioned in years; now I know why.

Discussions - 5 Comments

Where was Anita Hill when the Democrats were stonewalling Miguel Estrada? She might also consider reading Ross Douthat’s book on today’s Harvard, as well as Naomi Schaefer Riley’s sketch of "state of the art" college-bound competitiveness in today’s WSJ.

I’ll set aside for now a discussion of the most important qualification for a Supreme Court justice--his judicial philosophy. I’m guessing Bush would have liked to appoint Roberts as Rehnquist’s replacement from the get-go. Roberts’s relatively young age (50), personal temperament (congenial), and the tone of his legal writing as a judge (measured, not strident) made him a good candidate for chief justice. Alas, Bush was blind-sided by O’Connor’s announcing her retirement first. Bush then stalled, waiting for Rehnquist to announce his retirement soon after O’Connor’s, so he could fill the chief’s job with Roberts. No such luck. Apparently Rehnquist will stay chief until God calls him home. So Bush then toyed with the idea of appointing Gonzales or one of the two Ediths for O’Connor’s slot, then came back to his original choice--Roberts--because he would be the easiest to confirm.


In short, Roberts’s appointment will be a prelude--i.e., a minor drama--to the real fireworks of replacing the chief.

Anita Hill’s thinking seems a bit muddled. It’s not that Robert’s nomination is a "step back" because he’s a white male. According to her it’s that in his lifetime, he’s passed through institutions that contain quite a few creatures like himself--as if a college freshman is responsible for the race mix at Harvard. That’s not merely guilt for what you are born, that’s guilt for what you are not responsible for.

And alas, there’s a fact she refuses to state as clearly as she ought. Bush did consider appointing one and perhaps two black women to fill the vacancy. He did not in part, because Hill’s liberal friends, using tactics perfected in her attack on Justice Thomas, would make their appointment difficult to confirm. The shrill champions of ’diversity,’ including Hill, have become its primary foes.

--Mike Perry, Untangling Tolkien

Is she actually advocating less qualified justices?

It’s the Supreme Court, after all.

PS I think Lucas might be onto something. Roberts strikes me as the type Bush would want as Chief Justice.

Given Anita Hill’s propensity for sucking up to somebody for years, using them to advance her career, riding to advancement on their abilities and then staring them right in the face while she stabs them in the heart, why would anyone pay any attention to what this harridan has to say about anything at all?????

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