The stories in my dailies (WaPo, NYT, WT) make it tolerably clear that Roberts is unlikely to win any Democratic support in the Senate Judiciary Committee. Well, some Democrats are saying they’re conflicted, but I’m not convinced.
There’s only one scenario that might produce a couple of Democratic votes for Roberts on the committee, and that’s if someone wishes to gain credibility as an "honest broker" in order to be able to oppose the next conservative nominee more effectively. But I don’t expect that. Having spent so much time and effort portraying Roberts as an arch-conservative, the liberal interest groups can’t afford to permit an influential Democrat to contradict them, for fear that such credibility as they have will be weakened in the next round.
The case for opposing Roberts is, as many have noted, that he "lacks a heart," which I guess means that he decides on behalf of the little guy only when the Constitution requires it, not all the time.
Still, if Democrats need some cover in supporting Roberts despite the best efforts of Americans United, PFAW, and the others, there’s these quotes:
He is not in the mold of Scalia and Thomas," said Steven G. Calabresi, a law professor at Northwestern and a chairman of the Federalist Society, the conservative legal group. "They have more of a theory of how to decide cases, and they look to text and original meaning. Roberts will look at text and original meaning, but he will also look to precedent and the consequences of his decisions."
Professor [Cass] Sunstein said that Judge Roberts’s testimony was in an entirely different vein than his early writings.
"He doesn’t talk like someone who believed at any level in changing the current understanding of the Constitution," Professor Sunstein said. "He’s not the same person he was in his 20’s."
On the other hand, I find this comforting:
Prof. Charles Fried of Harvard, a former Republican solicitor general, applauded Judge Roberts for adhering to his views of the law, even when doing so led to outcomes his opponents have attacked. "I wonder whether the critics are not really complaining that Judge Roberts didn’t start with a result - their result - and then wrestle the law around until it fitted," Professor Fried said.
"He knows the difference between law and politics," Professor Fried said. "Judge Roberts seems to understand this down to his shoes."