Hogan's Alley

Friday, September 16, 2005

The Roberts Nomination

Although I have not blogged about the Roberts hearing, I did watch the proceedings almost obsessively. My general impression is that Roberts came across as a kind of lawyer as technocrat. Devoted to and in love with the sometimes cold logic of the law. He does not appear to have a political axe to grind, which will probably make him one of those Justices who have careers on the Court that surprise and confound both their supporters and detractors.

As for the Senators, their endless capacity, on both sides of the isle, for bloviating, pompousness and dullness is astounding. For me the signal moment came on the last day following one of the panels of witnesses. Joe Biden, whom I have previously admired, if not always agreed with, chose to react by remonstrating his audience about the tragedy caused by judges who would deprive the poor, the sick, the victimized and downtrodden of their right to sue a state that failed to implement rules attached to Federal funding correctly. He rose to theatrical heights of passion.

The problem, which anyone who listened to the prior days of the hearings would have learned, is that courts only rule that individuals have no right to sue because some laws, not all, do not include a specific declaration that makes this remedy available. As Roberts said, and it was unchallenged, the Congress can fix this problem by simply including a sentence of the appropriate language in all relevant legislation.

Sen. Biden, it appears, would rather devoted all his passion and energy to keeping such nefarious judges off the bench, rather than adding simple boilerplate language to legislation. He seemed foolish while actively kissing up to the advocacy groups represented in front of him at the time.