Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Reid's misjudgment to oppose Roberts...

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It appears that Harry Reid, the Senate Democratic Leader, will come out against the confirmation of John Roberts on Wednesday. The following quote is from his prepared remarks available in full on The Raw Story:

"The question is close, and the arguments against him do not warrant extraordinary procedural tactics to block the nomination. Nonetheless, I intend to cast my vote against this nominee when the Senate debates the matter next week.”

Reid cites a collection of memos from John Roberts' years in service to the Reagan Administration in which he was less than enthusiastic about the advancement of Affirmative Action and "derided" the concept of comparable worth between women and men in the workplace.

To me this is absolutely absurd. Roberts' position on equal rights wasn't compromised by these statements, and his rebuttal to Senator Feinstein in committee when she raised the subject of these memo's was comprehensive. He passionately expressed his dedication to equal rights, explained the underlying nuances of the issue as it related to his comments on comparable worth, and backed it all up with the fact that he'd married a working woman, grown up with three sisters who were working women, and would settle for nothing less than an outstanding career for his own daughter. Now maybe there is more beneath the surface, but presumptuous intimations and deductions are not the basis upon which Roberts' confirmation should be refused.

Reid states in his prepared remarks:
“Nonetheless, I was prepared to look past these memos, and chalk them up to the folly of youth. I looked forward to the confirmation hearings in the expectation that Judge Roberts would repudiate those views in some fashion."

What does he need to repudiate? The Reagan Administration policy on Affirmative action? The complex questions involving the particular case he was referencing in regards to comparable worth? The fact that he said there should be less lawyers, and not less female lawyers?

I agree with Reid that the Administration should have released the documents that Roberts had written when he served in the first Bush Administration, and I absolutely agree that Roberts has been less than forthcoming in the Judiciary Committee hearings, and that this is a cause for concern. After all, there are people on both the left and right worried as a result of how difficult it is to discern what kind of Chief Justice John Roberts will be. But, lets face it... he is following a precedent that has been set by his predecessors. Yes, some kind of mechanism should be in place to identify and scrutinize the subjective manner in which any nominee interprets the law... But, ultimately this is a criticism that relates to the process and not to the nominee, whether we like it as Democrats or not.

I have expressed many concerns about Roberts: Does Roberts have the seniority, or track record in leadership positions to fulfill the role of Chief Justice. His obfuscation in response to Feinstein's JFK quote about the "absolute" separation between Church and State. But, to be perfectly honest, if these are the grounds upon which Roberts' confirmation is refused, in addition to Reid's objections, then, from this day forth, there probably isn't ANY sound basis upon which you could expect a Presidential nominee to the Supreme Court to ever be confirmed.

This is obviously a politically calculated move on the part of Congressional Democrats to send the President a message about his next nomination to the SC. Maybe Reid has received word that Bush intends to nominate a truly staunch, ideological conservative to replace Sandra Day O'Connor, and her pivotal swing vote. For me it's just a shame that when political posturing in response to Katrina has cost this Administration so dear in the opinion polls... and when, for the first time in his Presidency, George Bush is struggling to re-gather the confidence of the American people... the Democratic Leadership are sending exactly the wrong message about the type of alternative that we are offering as a party. Where the disenchanted electorate look for sincerity and integrity we are now simply perpetuating the political cynicism they have grown to despise.

I agree with the Gang of 14: George Bush's election victory earned him the right to nominate a Conservative to the Supreme Court... and only the most extreme circumstances should necessitate this type of partisan intervention. The plain truth is that nothing Harry Reid will say on Wednesday equates to circumstances that are extreme. Today's LA Times editorial impressively presents the case for Roberts' confirmation.

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