05 September 2005

Scalia and Thomas are big losers in Roberts CJ nomination

As featured today on Daily Kos.

This morning, President George W. Bush nominated Judge John G. Roberts, Jr. to be the Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court. This nomination comes in the wake of the death of former Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, who died over the weekend from cancer at the age of 80 years old.

While liberal groups will never admit it, this is good news for their cause. Roberts is seen to be conservative, but much less so than his likely predecessor. Justice Sandra Day O'Connor has promised to remain on the court until her replacement is found, so for the brief time that Roberts is the Chief and the Court is filled at nine sitting justices, the U.S. Supreme Court will actually be more liberal than the court under Rehnquist.

The big losers in this announcement are the extreme right-wing activists, particularly those of the religious right, who have been hoping for a Chief Justice Scalia or Thomas. Both of those scenarios are now impossible.

Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas are extremely conservative and very activist jurists. If the religious right and those in the conservative community were hoping for a court aimed at overturning liberal precedence, those were the two men they needed in the Chief Justice position.

While he is conservative, Roberts has been a vocal advocate for judicial restraint and does not feel that the Court should actively overturn precedence. Roberts has told senators privately that he will "respect settled law" if approved to the Supreme Court. This statement is important for those who fear Roberts might vote to overturn the 1973 landmark case, Roe v. Wade, which recognized a woman's right to privacy when making reproductive decisions.

This morning's announcement is historic. The big winner is obviously Judge Roberts. At the age of 50, he is guaranteed to head the High Court for possibly 30 or 40 years.

Believe it or not, the other winners are the liberal groups, like NARAL, People For the American Way, and others. Of course, they'll never be happy with any of Bush's nominees, but this is definitely the best that they could ever hope for.

The big losers are the right-wing groups, like Progress For America, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, National Association of Manufacturers, and especially the religious right, who will now witness a U.S. Supreme Court that will briefly move to the left but in the end stay virtually the same.

And of course, the biggest losers are Justices Scalia and Thomas. These two men dreamed of heading the High Court, and Bush would have preferred to select one of them for Chief. Unfortunately, timing is everything, and Rehnquists death prior to the Roberts' hearing ruled out their chances and extinguished their dreams of serving as Chief Justice of the United States.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Saw your post at Daily Kos. They really beat the shit out of you. Wow! I guess you're just not liberal enough for them. I liked your piece. Made a lot of sense.

12:30:00 AM  

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