Offering frequent news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Why John Roberts needs to answer questions

In their usual art form, conservatives will glibly tell you that John Roberts doesn't need to answer questions from the Senate Judiciary Committee because Clinton's last nominee, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, answered hardly any questions during her hearing.

This comment on Daily Kos caught my attention as to why it's different for Roberts:
When the Clinton was considering nominees for the Supreme Court, he made a list of potential nominees and then consulted with the Republican opposition. He met with Orrin Hatch, head of the Judiciary Committee, and they went over the list, discussing who the Republicans were willing to vote for and who they would flatly reject. Hatch suggested that the majority of Republicans could vote for Ginsberg, potentially heading off a nasty senate confirmation fight.

Clinton nominated Ginsberg, and more than enough Republicans voted for her so that she was easily confirmed. This was not largesse granted by the Republicans - it was part of the deal. Clinton took the advice of the senate and the senate consented to his choice.

Bush has refused to even listen to the opposition in the senate and has nominated a candidate with very little background as a judge and whose available writings as a member of the justice department are now 20 years old. And Bush refuses to release any more current information on him.

In the case of Ginsberg, senators in both parties had access to years of her previous opinions, knew well her judicial philosophy and agreed in advance of the hearings that she would be confirmed.

It is not acceptable for Roberts to refuse to answer questions relevant to his political philosophy since there is no other way for the senate to understand his approach to the cases he may face.
Roberts is a dark shadow. We don't know what his current judicial philosophy is. It's funny how he was willing to answer a question about property rights, but not answer a question about women's rights and the right to privacy.

Roberts should be opposed. Send an e-mail to your senators and tell them to oppose his confirmation.

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