Bush Nominates Judge John G. Roberts Jr.

Federal appeals court judge with, per Bush, “superb credentials and the highest integrity” was a Justice Dept. official in former Republican administrations. This is a slap in the face to women, given the serious lobbying for Bush to replace O’Connor with another woman and the number of credible female candidates whose names have been mentioned. Roberts is also anti-choice, and I have already received an appeal from NARAL, kicking off a campaign to oppose his nomination.

“As one of the government’s top lawyers before the Supreme Court, he argued in 1990 in favor of a government regulation that banned abortion-related counseling by federally-funded family planning programs. A line in his brief noted the first Bush administration’s belief that Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion, should be overruled. The brief said the court’s conclusion “that there is a fundamental right to an abortion . . . finds no support in the text, structure or history of the Constitution.”” (Washington Post )

He has less than two years’ experience on the federal bench, thus not much to judge him by. In his 2003 confirmation hearing, he avowed that his personal views on the matter would not prevent his respecting Roe v. Wade as the “settled law of the land”… as long as it is. A polarizing candidate who will inspire a confirmation battle just at this point, of course, will divert all eyes from the Valerie Plame scandal, as Bush surely fervently desires. He is considered a legal heavyweight but not a “movement conservative”. Toady Joe Lieberman (D.-Conn.) had previously identified him as a choice who would not trigger a filibuster, but other Democrats, while acknowledging his suitable credentials, are reserving judgment until his confirmation hearings. What is more significant, however, is that the rabid right is by and large gleeful, by my early reading. Only 50 years old, Roberts will of course probably be on the Court for a long long while. At least this isn’t Alberto Gonzales…