The brilliance of the president's Supreme Court choice

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The brilliance of the president's Supreme Court choice

Post by Corlyss_D » Tue Jul 26, 2005 1:32 am

George W. Bush hides in plain sight
The brilliance of the president's Supreme Court choice

By Howard Fineman
MSNBC contributor
Updated: 1:39 p.m. ET July 20, 2005


WASHINGTON — George W. Bush keeps surprising the wise guys. They keep thinking that he’s going to be something other than what he is and that he will do something other than what he says he will do. Well, he and Karl Rove built his career on West Texas Bible Belt conservatism, with deep ancestral ties to the Establishment “up East.” And it was that president — half Cambridge, all “Come to Jesus” — who chose John G. Roberts Jr. for the U.S. Supreme Court.

In the words of the old Texas cliché, President Bush is the kind of leader, and person, who “dances with the one that brung him.” He is as loyal as a hunting dog. On a personal level, his inner circles stay inner and stay around him forever. It’s the same with politics. He owes “the base” — religious conservatives, corporate conservatives, Federalist Society libertarian conservatives — and he pays.

Doggedness vs. candor
This kind of personality is rare in politics, even rarer in the city of Washington. Bush likes to pull surprises, but only on matters of timing. George Bush hides in plain sight, a tactic that works here, since everyone always assumes the game is all about misdirection. Bush said he wanted to choose justices in the Scalia-Thomas tradition. Why would anyone think that he wouldn’t follow through on that promise?

Doggedness is not necessarily the same thing as candor, by the way. Once Bush decided to go to Iraq — and that may well have been before he was elected — he was going to go there, come hell or high water. He isn’t always forthcoming, shall we say, about the facts and the law that support, or don’t support, the course he’s set. But he’s damn well going to “git ’er done,” to use the parlance of the Cable Guy.

As a matter of political strategy, Roberts was a brilliant pick. Bush chose the most conservative judge he could find who also had a very high probability of Senate confirmation. Let’s use a golf analogy. He didn’t aim for the pin, but he laid it up just short for an easy putt.

I think of Roberts as Luttig Lite. A lot of attention focused in recent months on Judge Michael Luttig of the 4th Circuit, who has a similar conservative pedigree and is also known for his jurisprudential brilliance. But Luttig has been on the federal bench for many years and, as a result, has an enormous record of written opinions for liberal foes to dissect. Not Roberts. He’s been on the bench for less than two years and may well have wanted to steer clear of incendiary social issues while he bided his time.


The Roe v. Wade brief
His abortion record is a perfect mix of reassurance to the right and vagueness for the left. As deputy solicitor general under Bush One in 1991, Roberts signed the now-famous brief advocating the overturning of Roe v. Wade.

But his supporters, and even some Democrats, such as David Boies, make the mitigating argument that Roberts was only acting as an advocate for his client — which in this case was a Bush team desperate to improve its anti-abortion credentials heading into the 1992 campaign.

At his confirmation hearings for the Court of Appeals, Roberts said he held no personal views that would “prevent” him from upholding Roe if he had to. What a brilliant locution! He didn’t say that he WOULD uphold Roe in all circumstances — only that he wouldn’t necessarily overturn it. At least one friend and former close associate I spoke to thinks that, given the chance, Roberts WOULD vote to strike down Roe. But you can’t prove it — and interlocutors in the Judiciary Committee won’t be able to prove it either.

Impeccable credentials, and a nice guy
Besides, politically, abortion alone would not be nearly enough to derail the guy. His credentials are simply too good. He’s too well-liked around town, too well-regarded by expert practitioners in Supreme Court jurisprudence. Boies and Walter Dellinger, two of the best (Democratic) Supreme Court advocates around, sing Roberts’ praises.

They have faith that he will listen to reason when presented with well-crafted arguments on the high court. They think he is the opposite of a hack. It’s not just the Harvard/Harvard credentials, but the skill he has shown in the 39 cases he presented to the court over his years as a lawyer with Hogan and Hartson here in Washington.

He’s well-liked personally — and that matters here. He and his wife are members of a suburban Catholic parish known for its good educational programs and rock-steady values. His two kids are adopted. Washington sits on a substratum of Catholic conservatism that few people who aren’t from here understand. It goes back to Georgetown University and pre-D.C. Maryland history. It is that community that Roberts represents, and that Bush is paying homage to with this pick.


© 2005 MSNBC.com

URL: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/8643539/
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Post by Ralph » Tue Jul 26, 2005 5:18 am

Much ado about nothing. It's amusing how pundits seek to create an aura of mystery about the future of a man who will be confirmed when the guy's own statements reflect a very professional and non-ideological approach to interpreting the Constitution.

When he authors his first opinion - subject irrelevant - we'll see many articles about how his views were adumbrated in the way he smiled when being introduced by the President on nationwide TV.
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Post by Corlyss_D » Tue Jul 26, 2005 1:50 pm

Ralph wrote:adumbrated
Ahhhhhh, a very satisfying find. A much underused word, and much more beautiful and well proportioned than "presaged." Thank you Ralph. I must now go and work on the garage while it is still cool. It will be much more pleasant after encountering "adumbrated."
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Post by Ralph » Tue Jul 26, 2005 2:26 pm

Corlyss_D wrote:
Ralph wrote:adumbrated
Ahhhhhh, a very satisfying find. A much underused word, and much more beautiful and well proportioned than "presaged." Thank you Ralph. I must now go and work on the garage while it is still cool. It will be much more pleasant after encountering "adumbrated."
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What are you doing to your garage?
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Post by Corlyss_D » Tue Jul 26, 2005 3:34 pm

Ralph wrote:
Corlyss_D wrote:
Ralph wrote:adumbrated
Ahhhhhh, a very satisfying find. A much underused word, and much more beautiful and well proportioned than "presaged." Thank you Ralph. I must now go and work on the garage while it is still cool. It will be much more pleasant after encountering "adumbrated."
*****

What are you doing to your garage?
Still trying to find the LPs to rescue them from the heat. I have about 300 boxes in the garage and I have to move them all to find the LPs. I really ought to get Lance out here to help. He has a vested interest in my finding a set of Beethoven sonatas by Kempff that I swear I don't own, but, hell, he could have moved a lot of boxes before we settled the matter for sure.
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Post by Ralph » Tue Jul 26, 2005 5:35 pm

Hire some kid to sift through the boxes. We're all too old for that kind of work. :roll:
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Post by Corlyss_D » Tue Jul 26, 2005 6:33 pm

Another brilliant move, equivalent to discovery: dump thousands of documents on the ankle-biters while refusing to release anything they couldn't get by FOIA anyway. Public will remember, "he released tons of documentation" while the Dems try to make the case that Bush is hiding the ball by refusing to release attorney-client priviledged material. :lol:

Democrats Less Than Satisfied With White House Release of Roberts Documents
By Keith Perine from The Congressional Quarterly
Posted July 26, 2005


Senate Democrats are reacting cautiously to President Bush's decision to release some documents related to Supreme Court nominee John G. Roberts Jr.'s government service in previous Republican administrations.

The White House has announced that it is providing more than 75,000 pages of documents from Roberts' tenures at the Justice Department and the White House counsel's office during the Reagan administration.

The administration will deliver documents to the Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday. A Senate Republican aide said a reading room is being established for reporters at the National Archives facility in College Park, Md.

The White House is not releasing any documents from Roberts' service as principal deputy solicitor general in administration of President George Bush.

"This is more than what I think senators need to be able to do their job," said White House spokesman Scott McClellan.

Democrats say they need more information about Roberts in order to size him up for a Supreme Court seat.

Democrats on the Judiciary Committee are still working on their own document request, and are hopeful the request will end up being a bipartisan committee query joined by Arlen Specter, R-Pa., the committee chairman. But the Democrats intend to make a request in any event.

"If the White House announcement is intended to begin a dialogue about documents, I welcome it," said Patrick J. Leahy of Vermont, the ranking Democrat on the committee. "If it is intended to unilaterally pre-empt a discussion about documents the Senate may need and is entitled to, then this is a regrettable beginning."

Specter and Leahy are still hashing out the protocol for the Roberts' confirmation hearings, which probably will begin Sept. 6. A formal announcement about the hearings could come Tuesday.
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Post by Ralph » Tue Jul 26, 2005 6:42 pm

I don't think many "Dems" will argue for the release of privileged papers.
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Post by Corlyss_D » Tue Jul 26, 2005 7:29 pm

Ralph wrote:I don't think many "Dems" will argue for the release of privileged papers.
8) Just wait, Ralph. They are still trying to find their ass with both hands.

They are making self-destructive mutterings about Roberts' catholicism. Probably got a bunch of secularists like Leahy and Harkin to stand out front on this one, but it's part of their overall strategy, if Dems can be said to have strategy any more.. I would just love for them make an issue of it. There would go Chicago, large sections of Boston, parts of Pa., places I haven't even thought of!!! :lol:
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Post by Ralph » Tue Jul 26, 2005 8:11 pm

Corlyss_D wrote:
Ralph wrote:I don't think many "Dems" will argue for the release of privileged papers.
8) Just wait, Ralph. They are still trying to find their ass with both hands.

They are making self-destructive mutterings about Roberts' catholicism. Probably got a bunch of secularists like Leahy and Harkin to stand out front on this one, but it's part of their overall strategy, if Dems can be said to have strategy any more.. I would just love for them make an issue of it. There would go Chicago, large sections of Boston, parts of Pa., places I haven't even thought of!!! :lol:
*****

Who is "they?" Most Democrats I've seen commenting haven't indicated any willingness or basis for derailing this nomination. Your incessant lumping all Democrats into one group is as silly as anyone treating Republicans the same way.
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Post by Corlyss_D » Tue Jul 26, 2005 9:00 pm

Ralph wrote:
Corlyss_D wrote:
Ralph wrote:I don't think many "Dems" will argue for the release of privileged papers.
8) Just wait, Ralph. They are still trying to find their ass with both hands.

They are making self-destructive mutterings about Roberts' catholicism. Probably got a bunch of secularists like Leahy and Harkin to stand out front on this one, but it's part of their overall strategy, if Dems can be said to have strategy any more.. I would just love for them make an issue of it. There would go Chicago, large sections of Boston, parts of Pa., places I haven't even thought of!!! :lol:
*****

Who is "they?" Most Democrats I've seen commenting haven't indicated any willingness or basis for derailing this nomination. Your incessant lumping all Democrats into one group is as silly as anyone treating Republicans the same way.
Like I said, they are still trying to find their ass with both hands. It's not a matter of 'indicating any willingness or basis for derailing this nomination." It's a matter of what mileage do they think they can get out of bashing him and they haven't settled on a strategy yet. They can't afford to just let it go, and they will not, because they want to raise money off the unearned media opportunities. But the dilemma is how exactly to go about it. He didn't have a paper trail. He's squeaky clean. His family is a postcard for 50s values. So where are they going to make their money?
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Post by Ralph » Tue Jul 26, 2005 9:30 pm

Corlyss_D wrote:
Ralph wrote:
Corlyss_D wrote:
Ralph wrote:I don't think many "Dems" will argue for the release of privileged papers.
8) Just wait, Ralph. They are still trying to find their ass with both hands.

They are making self-destructive mutterings about Roberts' catholicism. Probably got a bunch of secularists like Leahy and Harkin to stand out front on this one, but it's part of their overall strategy, if Dems can be said to have strategy any more.. I would just love for them make an issue of it. There would go Chicago, large sections of Boston, parts of Pa., places I haven't even thought of!!! :lol:
*****

Who is "they?" Most Democrats I've seen commenting haven't indicated any willingness or basis for derailing this nomination. Your incessant lumping all Democrats into one group is as silly as anyone treating Republicans the same way.
Like I said, they are still trying to find their ass with both hands. It's not a matter of 'indicating any willingness or basis for derailing this nomination." It's a matter of what mileage do they think they can get out of bashing him and they haven't settled on a strategy yet. They can't afford to just let it go, and they will not, because they want to raise money off the unearned media opportunities. But the dilemma is how exactly to go about it. He didn't have a paper trail. He's squeaky clean. His family is a postcard for 50s values. So where are they going to make their money?
*****

Does the 7-Eleven out your way sell silly pills? :)
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"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former."

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Post by Corlyss_D » Tue Jul 26, 2005 11:05 pm

Ralph wrote:
Corlyss_D wrote:
Ralph wrote:
Corlyss_D wrote:
Ralph wrote:I don't think many "Dems" will argue for the release of privileged papers.
8) Just wait, Ralph. They are still trying to find their ass with both hands.

They are making self-destructive mutterings about Roberts' catholicism. Probably got a bunch of secularists like Leahy and Harkin to stand out front on this one, but it's part of their overall strategy, if Dems can be said to have strategy any more.. I would just love for them make an issue of it. There would go Chicago, large sections of Boston, parts of Pa., places I haven't even thought of!!! :lol:
*****

Who is "they?" Most Democrats I've seen commenting haven't indicated any willingness or basis for derailing this nomination. Your incessant lumping all Democrats into one group is as silly as anyone treating Republicans the same way.
Like I said, they are still trying to find their ass with both hands. It's not a matter of 'indicating any willingness or basis for derailing this nomination." It's a matter of what mileage do they think they can get out of bashing him and they haven't settled on a strategy yet. They can't afford to just let it go, and they will not, because they want to raise money off the unearned media opportunities. But the dilemma is how exactly to go about it. He didn't have a paper trail. He's squeaky clean. His family is a postcard for 50s values. So where are they going to make their money?
*****

Does the 7-Eleven out your way sell silly pills? :)
I wouldn't know. Politics I know. Narcotics I don't know.
Corlyss
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Ralph
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Post by Ralph » Wed Jul 27, 2005 5:22 am

Corlyss_D wrote:
Ralph wrote:
Corlyss_D wrote:
Ralph wrote:
Corlyss_D wrote:
Ralph wrote:I don't think many "Dems" will argue for the release of privileged papers.
8) Just wait, Ralph. They are still trying to find their ass with both hands.

They are making self-destructive mutterings about Roberts' catholicism. Probably got a bunch of secularists like Leahy and Harkin to stand out front on this one, but it's part of their overall strategy, if Dems can be said to have strategy any more.. I would just love for them make an issue of it. There would go Chicago, large sections of Boston, parts of Pa., places I haven't even thought of!!! :lol:
*****

Who is "they?" Most Democrats I've seen commenting haven't indicated any willingness or basis for derailing this nomination. Your incessant lumping all Democrats into one group is as silly as anyone treating Republicans the same way.
Like I said, they are still trying to find their ass with both hands. It's not a matter of 'indicating any willingness or basis for derailing this nomination." It's a matter of what mileage do they think they can get out of bashing him and they haven't settled on a strategy yet. They can't afford to just let it go, and they will not, because they want to raise money off the unearned media opportunities. But the dilemma is how exactly to go about it. He didn't have a paper trail. He's squeaky clean. His family is a postcard for 50s values. So where are they going to make their money?
*****

Does the 7-Eleven out your way sell silly pills? :)
I wouldn't know. Politics I know. Narcotics I don't know.
*****

You're never too old to try something new.
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"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former."

Albert Einstein

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Post by Corlyss_D » Wed Jul 27, 2005 9:31 am

Ralph wrote:You're never too old to try something new.
I'll never be bored enough to try that.
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Post by Ralph » Wed Jul 27, 2005 11:25 am

Okay, we'll skip the crack house visit when you come to Gotham. :(
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