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Record from Roberts' DC Circuit Nomination:
If you're interested in finding out a lot of information about John Roberts, and you want to download the 1,236 page record from his DC Circuit nomination, you can get it right here (watch out -- it's a 40 MB .pdf file).
NR (mail):
I find this especially interesting:

I don't know if that's a flaw for a judicial nominee or not, not to have a comprehensive philosophy about constitutional interpretation, to be able to say, "I'm an originalist, I'm a textualist, I'm a literalist or this or that." I just don't feel comfortable with any of those particular labels. One reason is that as the Constitution uses the term "inferior court judge," I'll be bound to follow the Supreme Court precedent regardless of what type of constructionist I, personally, might be. The other thing is, in my review over the years and looking at Supreme Court constitutional decisions, I don't necessarily think that it's the best approach to have an all-encompassing philosophy. The Supreme Court certainly doesn't. There are some areas where they apply what you might think of as a strict construction; there are other areas where they don't. And I don't accept the proposition that a strict constructionist is necessarily hostile to civil rights.

Apparently, not only does Judge Roberts not have a grand overarching interpretive theory for constitutional adjudication, he doesn't think it's a good idea to have one, either. How does this sit with all you originalists?
7.20.2005 3:43pm
Doug Sundseth (mail):
It would seem that the US Senate has more records "on" John Roberts than the FBI has "on" the ACLU. Where's the outrage?

(Yes, I understand the cases aren't parallel; I still thought it interesting. I think it's also a useful reminder of how much paper government can generate in a short time.)
7.20.2005 3:54pm
aslanfan (mail):
NR -- I wouldn't try to derive too much meaning from testimony before the Senate Kabukiary Committee.
7.20.2005 4:14pm
Ted (www):
Orin: the 1236 pages includes a lot of other judges. The Roberts-specific stuff (plus some other submissions) are available on smaller files at the Liability Project website.
7.20.2005 4:38pm
NR (mail):
aslanfan: Certainly his Senate testimony should be read with an appreciation of the context. One expects some hedging and dodging on controversial issues like abortion, for instance. But Judge Roberts said he "[doesn't] feel comfortable" with labels like "originalist," and that he "[doesn't] necessarily think that it's the best approach to have an all-encompassing philosophy" of constitutional adjudication. Assuming he was being honest, isn't that a pretty good indication that he's probably not an originalist?
7.20.2005 6:09pm
John Jenkins (mail):
It depends on what you mean by "originalist." Considering the people using the labels most often don't understand what they mean (for example "originalist" could have several different meanings, from one who tries to divine original intent of the drafter, to one who tries to divine the originial intent of the ratifiers, to one who tries to divine what the words meant at the time of adoption and apply those meanings). Then you have the omnipresent "activist" label that we all know and love.

The labels are meaningless without referents, so he is rejecting the labels.

He may believe that for certain kinds of interpretation, one should be more or less literal. For example, "Congress shall make no law . . ." is pretty straightforward, while "necessary and proper" is pretty vague. Then again, maybe he was just giving the politic answer at the time. It seems to have worked, after all.
7.20.2005 9:51pm