Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Two Lawyers

When I got up this morning at 4:30, I already had two e-mails from organizations asking me urgently to sign petitions to oppose the nomination of John Roberts to the Supreme Court. I expect to get a bunch more when I get to my e-mail later on today, and I expect I’ll be seeing talking points from both sides. I’ve heard that Ken Mehlman did a conference call yesterday — before the Roberts nomination was announced — to get state Republican party chairs to encourage their supporters to call talk radio and support the nominee whomever it was. So the spinning has begun.

As for the nomination itself: what, you were expecting Oliver Wendell Holmes?

As I’ve been saying on this blog since I started writing it almost two years ago, the important issue in the election of 2004 was about three little words: The Supreme Court. On that, I noted, depended the future of this country and its course for the next twenty-five or thirty years. (And Judge Roberts is three years younger than me, so the guy is going to be around for a while, actuarially speaking.) From what I can determine, Roberts is, in the words of an outside observer, a strong but not extreme conservative. He doesn’t have a lot of experience on the bench, and his written record is short. He has, however, written opinions on environmental law and Roe v. Wade, so both of those topics will be fair game during his confirmation hearings. We’re just going to have to wait and see. As one of my commenters noted in the previous post, it could have been a whole lot worse: think Judge Roy Moore. I think the extremists on both sides are going to rant and rave — and raise a whole lot of money in the process, but in the end he’ll be confirmed and we’ll wish good health and spirits to the rest of the court.

One thing that strikes me is how much Judge Roberts resembles the president in terms of background: upper crust, Ivy-league education, limited experience in the public eye and that sort of bland background that doesn’t demonstrate a whole lot of awareness of life experiences outside of his own sphere. It’s a playwright’s generalization, but it seems like Mr. Bush has picked someone who has the kind of pedigree he understands and would pick for himself. The one difference is that Judge Roberts is able to put together a complete sentence without sending grammarians running for their Warriner’s.

So Judge Roberts will be the topic for the next couple of news cycles. The blogosphere will be busy for the next few weeks. But while they do, don’t forget there’s another lawyer who already has a job whose work we shouldn’t ignore in all of this, and that’s special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald.