Roberts on the NewsHour:
On July 3, 1997, John Roberts participated in a panel discussion of the recently completed Supreme Court term on the PBS NewsHour with Jim Lehrer. The transcript is here, courtesy of Jack Lewis. When asked whether the Supreme Court was conservative, he offered the following response:
  Well, I think it's a moderate court but one that is very serious about the limits it sees in the Constitution, whether it's the limits on Congress, limitations on the federal government, or limitations on the court, itself. And if it's a court that doesn't seem so warm and embracing of theories that are popular on the law school campuses, I hope the other members of the panel will forgive me for not thinking that's a serious flaw.
7.22.2005 2:30pm
Daniel Chapman (mail):
Isn't this a diversion from the practice of keeping the nominee out of the public eye during the senate deliberations? Will we be seeing more TV appearances by Roberts in the coming months?
7.22.2005 2:40pm
Mr. Man:
Look at the year, DC.
7.22.2005 3:03pm
Daniel Chapman (mail):
whoops! Thanks :)
7.22.2005 3:53pm
Anderson (mail) (www):
The logic of naming Roberts in late July, allowing the otherwise dull month of August for the media to dig up whomever he felt up at the junior high prom, seems a bit odd to me.

Maybe the Plame scandal is a brilliant tactic to divert attention from Roberts, &not the other way around! That Rove, what a subtle mastermind!
7.22.2005 3:57pm
Split Lip Rayfield (mail):
I wonder what his answer would be today.

By the way, why is David Bernstein telling everyone about his dad's beef with H&R Block? who cares?
7.22.2005 4:02pm
and you gotta love how he stopped enabling comments on those arbitration posts
7.22.2005 4:08pm
Daniel Chapman (mail):
Rayfield: but he has a high traffic weblog and you don't, so you WILL LISTEN TO EVERY DAMN WORD HE SAYS!
7.22.2005 4:14pm
aslanfan (mail):
Interesting that the transcript identifies Prof. Tribe as a Reagan AAG....Bork's nomination never had a chance
7.22.2005 4:38pm
erp (mail):
What a great answer.

I think I'm warming up to Roberts. I don't even care if he looks like a Stepford Justice. If he's programmed to make those kind of remarks and think along those lines, it'll be fine with me, and I hope Bush is making more of them, in different colors and sexes of course, in his secret lab under his ranch in Texas.

Every time I think Bush has blown it, it turns out I'm wrong and he's right. It's very comforting to know we're in good hands.

Thanks to Tribe's lies about Bork's role in the Cox firing and Gregory Peck reprising his role of Atticus Finch in the Bork borking TV ads, Bork didn't have a chance. And as so often happens in the world of unintended consequences, Tribe killed his own chances for the Supreme Court as well. Even Clinton didn't have the nerve to put Tribe's name forward.

So arguably the best legal minds of our period didn't get seated on the top court where they could have debated their interpretations of the Constitution and perhaps settled some of the questions still plaguing us. Roberts will get confirmed followed by one or two more conservatives which is great news, but unfortunately the liberal justices, and I include Kennedy and Souter) on the Supreme Court don't have the brain power to go up against the uber-brains on the right and I don't see any chance of replacing them with new talent. Little did the left know that the Bork hearing, following by the Thomas hearing would be the beginning of the end for them.

Can you believe that Anita Hill resurfaced with some anti-Roberts remarks. She's at Brandeis now. What in the world were those people thinking when they hired her? Her name on the faculty list tells the world, we're not serious about the law here. We're more concerned about political correctness here than we are about legal scholarship. She's an affirmative action lightweight. Don't their law students deserve better?
7.23.2005 9:36am
Bruce Hayden (mail):
Hope I don't offend any of you academics, but, I agree with Judge Roberts about much of what is discussed in law school these days.
7.23.2005 1:50pm
Dread Justice Roberts:
Well I like Judge Roberts enough, but I gather he was speaking a little loosely. *Most* of what's discussed in law schools is torts, contracts, criminal law, legal research, trademark, copyright, and the like. I suspect that he really only takes issue with certain parts of certain courses like criminal procedure and constitutional law.
7.25.2005 10:29am
Eh Nonymous (mail) (www):
To echo and answer Bruce Hayden, immediately above:

Hope I don't offend any of you conservatives, but I both agree and disagree with Judge Roberts about some of the theories that are popular on law school campuses.

I took a Critical Race Theory class, and found it just like you'd imagine. I took a Con Law class, and found it perplexing beyond imagining, and not very full of flights of fancy. I took a Law &Religion course, and can't imagine that most folks here have better grasp than that professor did on the Law on Religion. I took an evidence course, and a civil procedure course, and a torts course... none of these really seemed to have Wild and Crazy Ideas that are, say, liberal, or even wacky.

Injuries should have remedies. Victims should often have rights, if there's standing and a forum and a defendant who breached a duty and caused a harm. But then, most of that sort of thing is unobjectionable (except to the folks who love the bad actors and hate the victims).

The implication was, I think, more about the following propositions (not all of which I would stand up and support):

- reparations for long-ago harms should be considered, and possibly implemented by courts rather than by legislatures
- international tribunes should have universal jurisdiction
- international human rights are not waivable, are real, are not imaginary or hortatory only, and the U.S. is a signatory to major instruments thereof
- the U.S. should act in conformity with the Convention Against Torture, which it signed and ratified, even if it does not by its terms add anything to the Constitution
- the Iraq war was, if not illegal, at least an actively bad idea, poorly executed, and war tribunals are probably not legal as originally conceived (not as implemented; the Administration already junked the original proposal).
- Guantanamo's prisoners can and should be afforded the right to challenge the factual predicates for their detention.

I'd sign on to the last one... as did O'Connor...

- gays should have no less liberty than non-gays
- women should have no fewer rights than non-women
- transgered humans should have no fewer rights than others
- disabled persons ...
- the elderly...
- the left-handed...
(prisoners, psychotics, children, animals, ...)

So of course, one can find someone writing and defending almost anything. But then, that's because we pay them to. And should. Tenure should not go only to those making useful contributions; it also should go to those who demonstrably could make useful contributions, and who the faculty think should be given a chance to do so.
7.25.2005 5:29pm