Roberts Hearings, Day Two, Morning Thread
by Chris Bowers, Tue Sep 13, 2005 at 05:31:28 AM EDT
Use this thread to discuss them. I'll have a rolling commentary, with the newest comments the highest on the list of bullet points. My views are not representative of any organization whatsoever.
- Biden's done. It's lunch. A complete transcipt of the today's hearings through's Kennedy's questions, which were the first that caused Roberts to drop his calm veneer, can be found here.
Update: The transcript is being constantly updated, and should be completely caught up soon.
- Specter: "they may be misleading, but they are his answers."
- Of course, another major difference between Ginsberg and Roberts is that Ginsberg had a record of 700+ decisions when she was nominated, and Roberts has almost no history of rulings because he has only been a judge for two years. So, while Ginsberg did not answer 30+ questions, senators were able to look at a substantial body of rulings to understand what she was thinking. Also, as Biden pointed out, Roberts is being a lot less specific than Ginsberg was. Thus, Roberts not only refuses to answer questions, not only is he being even less specific than Ginsberg, not only does he repeatedly claim that everything he wrote in the 1980's was the opinion of his bosses rather than his own, and not only is the White House refusing to release important documents that he wrote, but he has almost no history of rulings. This evasion alone is worthy of a filibuster. How are we supposed to know anything about this guy?
- Biden on the attack--really tearing the Ginsberg rule apart by pointing out where Ginsberg gave specific answers to questions. Says that Roberts is "filibustering" and says "go ahead and continue to not answer my question." Biden is doing something really important here--pointing out that the "Ginsberg rule," as defined by the right-wing, is not the way Ginsberg's hearings actually went. Roberts is engaging in this distortion right along with the Republican Noise Machine, from whom he clearly received this talking point.
- Biden backing Roberts into a corner about thwy he isn't answering any questions, focused on the "Ginsberg Rule" that the right wing has focused on. This is a good way to end the morning hearings--focus on why Roberts isn't answering anything. Biden has pointed out an instance where Ginsberg said explicity whether or not she agreed with a minoirty or a majority opinion in a given case. Roberts continues to evade.
- Biden is really going nuts on the baseball stuff. Says that mentioning baseball seems to have helped Roberts yesterday. He is also directly pointing out the problem with the baseball metaphor that Armando pointing out yesterday--namely, that the umpire metaphor isn't apt because "the founders never set a strikezone" on a large number of important decisions that will face the court.
- Biden is up now. Makes a joke about the baseball metaphors from yesterday. He will be the last questioner before a lunch break.
- Armando suggest that Roberts has undergone a confirmation conversion on the right ot privacy. I'm not so ure he even went on a conversion, as Confirm Them suggest that he would still have a lot of wiggle room on privacy.
- Roberts says that he wants to be an umpire, but it looks more and more like he is a player in a game of dodgeball. Today alone, he has repeatedly refused ot answer questions on Roe, on the Voting Rights Act, and on war powers, including internment.
- Think Progress reveals Coburn's crying hypocrosy from yesterday (includes a good video), which was already at least partly revealed through his crossword adventures.
- Kennedy up now. Starts on civil rights. "John Roberts" has risen to #6 on technorati, the highest since he was nominated in July. Good. Keep writing and may it keep rising.
- Confirm Them gushes about Roberts wiggling on privacy:Roberts answer was brilliant. He made a statement that will satisfy most Americans about privacy while leaving himself enough wiggle room to move the Court on that issue in the future. And if people have any doubt about what Roberts said on privacy, check out this piece from Confirm Them a few minutes later (emphasis mine):A top-flight, leading conservative pro-life lawyer with a vibrant Supreme Court practice whose name most readers of this forum would know just walked into the room where Im sitting. He was thrilled about Roberts answers during the dialogue with Specter and indicated his strong approval and endorsement. He explained that Robertss answer was carefully framed to provide a basis for revisiting and overturning Roe in the future.
- Best. Hearings. Ever.
- Roberts avoids specifics on the internment of American citizens of certain ethnic groups, because that case might come before the court. Yikes. I wonder if he would refuse comment on the Dred Scott case as well, because that might come before the court.
- The final two polls that were taken before the hearings began were two of the best ever for Roberts. ABC shows 55-26 confirm, and Pew 46-21 confirm. Roberts is a lot more popular than Bush.
- "John Roberts" has dropped to eighth over at Technorati, after rising the seventh earlier today. This is the #1 story in the MSM, but not on the blogs. Go figure--for once they are covering the big story that we aren't dedicating enough time toward. Shame on us.
- Bush's approval rating drops to 42-57 in ABC / WaPo, a new record low.
- Leahy is up now. He is asking about Presidential powers, first in relation to war. Specifically, Leahy is arguing that Congress can end a war either through joint resolution or through overriding a Presidential veto of a concurrent resolution. Leahy argues that Roberts's writing indicates otherwise. Roberts refuses to answer the question, because he said it could very well come up before the court. I hope he is correct about the last part.
- Specter asks Roberts if he believes the Constitution is a living thing. Roberts answers that he believes the tradition of liberty is a living thing.
- Roberts says that his views on privacy now are not the same as his views in the 1980's. That is the frustrating thing about these hearings--how can you trust him? He hasn't spent enough time ruling in order to know if he is telling the truth.
- Specter asks Roberts about the right to privacy. Roberts answers with a specific series of ways in which it does, which makes me dubious that he supports a general right to privacy.
- Blue Oregon has a round-up of yesterday's blogger conference call on Roberts.
- Roberts says that he will not discuss whether or nor he agrees with either Roe or Casey.
- Specter opens with a discussion of Casey vs. Planned Parenthood and Stare Decisis. Roberts immediately states that he will not disucss specific cases.