Ken Karst on Judge Roberts:

My colleague Ken Karst -- one of the nation's foremost constitutional scholars, a solid liberal, and as it happens my free speech law teacher -- e-mailed this to some colleagues; I asked him whether I could blog it, and he graciously agreed:

From: Karst, Kenneth
Sent: Friday, August 05, 2005 8:57 AM
To: . . .
Subject: FW: Judge Roberts

In case anyone cares, here's a note I sent in response to a query from a member of the ABA's committee on the federal judiciary. Think of this as a one-time mini-blog.


-----Original Message-----
From: Karst, Kenneth
Sent: Friday, August 05, 2005 8:37 AM
To: . . .
Subject: Judge Roberts

Dear Mr. Marshall,

Thanks for your letter asking for my views on the nomination of Judge Roberts to the Supreme Court. Alas, I have nothing useful to say about his history. I don't know Judge Roberts, nor have I seen him in action as an attorney or a judge. All I know about him, I have read in the press.

However, ignorance rarely prevents one from having a view, and I do have one. I am one of those liberal law academics whom Justice Scalia sometimes blames for the Supreme Court's straying from the True Path. Even so, I believe the Senate should confirm Judge Roberts's nomination. By all accounts, he is a first-rate lawyer, who listens carefully to arguments, even when they go against his initial inclinations. He seems to me to be a true conservative, who sees the judicial role as one in which courts conserve. I don't expect to agree with all his decisions, even on matters of intense controversy. I should compare him to the second Justice Harlan--with whom I often disagreed, but whom I still consider an excellent Justice.

Even though I have nothing to offer except opinion, I am grateful that you had me on your list, and I wish you and your ABA colleagues well in your deliberations.


Ken Karst