I just saw this story on Drudge, about NARAL’s ad on Supreme Court nominee John Roberts and felt compelled to post about it. You can read the Annenberg Center’s report here, which calls the ad “false.”
It’s certainly true that in the rough and tumble world of politics that the first casualty of any air war (ads) is the truth, followed closely by nuance, complexity, and perspective – just to name a few. Twisting, bending, and, let’s be honest, lying, are to be expected.
But, from time to time, something comes along that surprises even “faux world-weary” jaded folks like myself. If the Annenberg FactCheck proves true, the NARAL ad would represent one of the lowest examples of political rhetoric – right up there with the Willie Horton ad run against Michael Dukakis.
But I am most baffled by the “out-of-touch” argument—which seems to suggest that judges must pass some sort of current-events test in order to be effective on the bench. It becomes even more baffling when one considers that so many advocates of an “in-touch” judiciary believe that current morals and mores shouldn’t matter at all when a judge interprets the law. If you’re truly an “Originalist,” for example, the only society you need be intimately in touch with is that of the framers of the Constitution.
The Roberts nomination started the expected interest group air war with the expected pre-determined themes. It almost surprises one that left-of-center groups should expect a Republican nominated justice to be pro-choice (and that Republicans expect a Democratic nominee be pro-life). I’m surprised that such groups still manage to gin up faux-outrage (whether that be outrage at his nomination or outrage that his nomination go without question) at a nominee of which so little is known (although much more now than when he was nominated).
Setting aside the unsurprising debate on the nominee’s opinion on abortion, and the equally unsurprising revelation that he probably does not (like most conservatives) favor affirmative-action, I’m still looking for a reason to think that the debate surrounding Roberts is something more than a pro-forma political sideshow featuring catchphrases and buzzwords from some interest group flack.
Until then, the impression I get is (and a lot of you, those of you still reading, that is, probably are yawningly unsurprised by this revelation) that John Roberts is someone who has a history of being that guy who always pulled the “A” in class without ever talking in section or writing something controversial. He’s not flamboyant. He hasn’t been gunning to be a poster-boy of conservative judicial thought all his life or cultivated a cult following of ideological ditto-heads(unlike some other nominees rumored to have been on the short-list). He seems, from most accounts, to be a smart and accomplished, yet bland, guy.
In short, he’s not the type of person who would write for a blog.
And if for no other reason, I’m thinking that his nomination is going to sail through unless someone discovers that one occasion when John Roberts (in a legal fashion – or otherwise!) acted like Clay Capp on one of his “good” weekends.
We now resume our regularly scheduled summer blog slacking. You can, however, expect more frequent posts from me after this week, when my summer employment officially ends. More on that soon.