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September 14, 2005

Roberts Qualified for Supreme Court

Casey Doherty

      The latest debate in the Democratic Party is the degree of opposition, if any, that Democrats should bring out against Supreme Court nominee Justice John Roberts. Roberts is a conservative judge, a judge that a Democratic President would certainly not nominate to be on the Supreme Court, however, Democrats must grasp the difference between the standards for picking judges and those for opposing them.

      A Democratic President would not nominate Roberts because he is unabashedly conservative. He has spoken out against abortion, supported the Bush administration in regards to military tribunals, and even helped out the Bush campaign during the Florida election fiasco. For Democrats to oppose him, however, because he is not a judge they would pick would be foolish. A judge should only be blocked if he is an extremist. Roberts is not a conservative extremist, he is a conservative pragmatist.

      Roberts has always provided logical justifications when he arrives at his decisions. The far left abortion rights group, NARAL, ran an ad decrying a Roberts decision in an abortion clinic bombing case. NARAL claimed that because Roberts argued that an anti-discrimination law did not apply to abortion protestors, he supported those who bombed abortion clinics. In fact, Roberts said that any violence against clinics was "inexcusable." In his arguments, he made a logical case that the anti-discrimination law did not apply to protestors of abortion clinics—they were not discriminating against an ethnic group, or even a gender—they were protesting against the practice of abortion and all of those who support it, not a specific minority.

      Roberts did not act as a bigot or as an extremist; he acted as a conservative jurist. In cases regarding women's rights and military tribunals, Roberts also backed up his decisions with facts and logic, not slurs or emotion. Democrats must recognize this key fact when deciding to oppose Roberts.

      To oppose Roberts would be an ill-advised political choice for the Democrats. The Democrats are a minority party in the Senate and will probably stay that way for some years to come considering the fact that Senators only serve six-year terms and that there are fourteen more red states than blue states. Every state, regardless of population, of course, is allowed two Senators each, so Democrats cannot expect to regain a majority in the Senate any time soon.

      They can, though, regain the presidency in as early as three years, a possibility that could easily become a reality considering the public opinion about the administration's handling of the Iraq war and of the Hurricane Katrina crisis. The possibility of another Supreme Court justice passing away or retiring in the next four to eight years is also likely.

      Democrats must stop acting like a party that is always going to be out of power and start acting like one that will eventually regain power. If Democrats oppose a nominee via filibuster, whom they cannot prove to be an extremist or criminal, what do they expect Republican Senators to do when a Democratic President nominates a liberal judge?

      The Republican Senators will block that nominee and do so easily because they will have a majority; and the Democrats will not be able to complain without sounding hypocritical.

      The President was elected by a majority of the American population who share his ideology. Therefore, he has a democratic right to appoint a nominee who he politically empathizes with. Liberal advocacy groups who continue to fund outlandish ads against Roberts seem to be missing this point. Or then again, maybe they aren't. Groups on either end of the political spectrum must keep their bases energized, for this reason groups such as Moveon.org need to put up a fight against Roberts in order to legitimize themselves to their members.

      Senators, however, should be more prudent than interest groups. The Democratic Senators do not necessarily all have to vote for Roberts, especially those in entrenched liberal states, but they should most definitely not filibuster him. To do so would be a move that would doom the Democrats—solidifying them as a purely reactive party for years to come.

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