His Honor Chief Justice John G. Roberts

It’s a done deal.

I, for one, am relieved. Roberts is that rare animal in Washington these days: A principled, by all appearances highly-ethical, brilliantly intelligent conservative who will interpret the law fairly and truly honor the core principles of the US Constitution. A pitched battle in the Senate would have been gratuitously polarizing and ultimately fruitless. Pres. Bush deserves credit for nominating an eminently qualified and acceptable candidate, and the Democrats, as a party, deserve credit for choosing their battles wisely. Presently, the Republicans are doing enough to impede their own agenda with hubris, and to conflate Roberts’ nomination with that trend would have been the ultimate folly.

So here’s to our new Chief Justice, Judge John G. Roberts. May his career on the SCOTUS be marked by wise jurisprudence, and may he serve to the betterment of all Americans.

Hear, hear. It’s a forlorn hope, but I hope Bush’s nominee for the next spot is just as good. But I am afraid he is going to nominate someone extreme and push a fight.

From the OP’s link:

Who is this guy, John Mace, with seemingly perfect insight concerning upcoming Senate votes. :cool:

Well, it’s not as if the Dems have demonstrated a willingness to toe the line against extremist nominations from him before.

(And my money is still in the “folks who grudgingly accepted Roberts will soon regret their decision” box)

I certainly hope so.

Technically, he’s not Chief yet. He still needs to receive his commission (I assume the Secretary of State still issues them) and be sworn in. But there’s no real chance of there being any hiccoughs in that process.


Indeed, but at least there was no even half-hearted attempt to fillibuster, etc., which is what I mean by “choosing their battles wisely”. Surely that was a strategic calculation to not risk the “nuclear option” over someone like Roberts. The next nominee may necessitate such a risk.

As it is, you’ve been very astute! And for myself, I can see both sides of the argument. But half of the Democrats did gamble that Roberts will be no worse than Rehnquist, and none of them were so sure things will be worse that they’d fight a costly battle over Roberts. This was, I think, a smart move. And, by all available appearances, Roberts really isn’t just a clone of Scalia. I’m not being unreasonably optimistic here. It’s just that, given the current administration, the potential for someone other than a narrow ideologue is something to be happy about.

Pardon the gloating. My predictions so rarely come true… :slight_smile:

I can’t help but think that some of the “no” votes were simply political cover for the particular Senator. Kennedy probably did vote conscience, but I’m not so sure about HRC, Kerry, and the other presidential contenders. Hard to say, but color me skeptical.

I think that skepticism is entirely warranted, and I’d be entirely unsurprised if, when the party got together and did the calculus prior to the vote, some measured level of dissent against the inevitable was deemed acceptable constructive, so long as it was not, for practical purposes, obstructive.

Yes, but with 78 votes for Roberts, there’s no chance a filibuster against his nomination could succeed anyway.

Any nominee that gets between 100 and 60 votes can’t be filibustered. Any nominee that gets between 0 and 50 votes isn’t confirmed. Only when a nominee has between 50 and 60 votes is there potential for a filibuster. So it would seem that a nominee has to get 60 votes for confirmation. However there could be some senators who would vote against the nominee, but yet vote against the filibuster for whatever reasons. However, I tend to think that number would be pretty small. After all, if the circumstances were so extreme that you’d vote against the nominee, they are probably so extreme that you’d vote against stopping the filibuster. If you won’t filibuster, go ahead and vote for the nominee for crying out loud.

For the next nominee Bush just needs 10 democrats to vote to confirm his nominee and the whole filibuster/nuclear option thing becomes moot. I have the feeling Karl Rove is gonna pick someone juuuuust moderate enough to pick up those 10 votes.

It’s not like they had to vote yes. If every single Democrat voted no Roberts would still have been confirmed, so it was an easy choice to make. Still, did you notice who voted no? It was a who’s who of the Usual Suspects: Boxer, Clinton, Biden, Feinstein, Kerry, Durbin, Kennedy… and now Obama has put himself firmly in the reactionary camp.

If you voted no to this guy you’re on crack. It’s that simple. You will never, ever see a more moderate nominee than this again from a President of either stripe.

MSN news had a photo of him being sworn in.

The Nation apparently forgot one of the 22 Democrats who voted no, but here are 21 of them:
Akaka, Bayh, Biden, Boxer, Cantwell, Clinton, Corzine, Dayton, Durbin, Feinstein, Harkin, Inouye, Kennedy, Kerry, Mikulski, Obama, Reed, Reid, Sarbanes, Schumer,

It doesn’t take much for you, I guess?

I would like to believe Roberts is as he is presented, but the ill-concealed glee of the religious right over his nomination makes me think they know something that I and the Senators don’t. So I remain suspicious. I suspect that the Dems who voted “No” are thinking about their future political prospects. I think they made a smart vote.

I think you’re right. It was almost what they had to do, given their aspirations. It was important to lock in a no-vote for the nomination process. However, it still probably gave them some pause, as they must realize that if Roberts turns out to be a thoughtful and moderate consensus builder, their no-vote could be turned against them in the general election. In other words, although it was probably smart, it was not without risk.

But there are enough Democrats in the Senate to stymie a judicial confirmation with a filibuster if they so choose. That’s the entire reason a “nuclear option” was threatened. No question, any Bush nominee will pass an up-or-down vote, but arguing you can’t filibuster if you don’t have the votes doesn’t speak much to why you don’t have the votes. It’s just stating the obvious.

I guess I was just pointing out that the Democrat’s didn’t “choose” not to filibuster. The leadership didn’t have enough votes for a filibuster, anyone who voted for Roberts surely would vote against the filibuster.

The only time where you could really say that the Democrats chose not to filibuster would be a case where the nominee only got between 50 (with Cheney’s tiebreaker) and 60 votes. Then the Democrats could decide whether to let the nominee through with a simple majority, or attempt a filibuster and require a supermajority (and perhaps trigger the nuclear option shenanegins).

I’m just saying that there was no tactical/principled refusal to filibuster. Maybe there was a tactical/principled decision by individual Democrats to vote for or against, but once the vote count was known any discussion of filibuster was moot.

60 votes are required to break a filibuster. There are not 60 Republican Senators. If the Democrats decided, along party lines and in unison, which they can do, to support a filibuster, the Republicans would lack enough votes for cloture. So far, no rule barring filibustering judicial nominees is on the books.

What on Earth am I arguing about here?

For what it’s worth, here is the email I got from John Kerry, explaining his ‘no’ vote:

Every Senator with presidential asperations for '08 voted against Roberts. I guess they can’t be blamed. Roberts will surely be on the “wrong” side of some issue between now the primaries, and who’d want to have your party openents label you as someone who “conspired with conservative to compromise hard-won rights” or something like that.

And Leahey, who initially expressed a great deal of skepticism about Roberts claims he was assured by Roberts that personal beliefs and philosphy would not compromise his interpretation of the Constitution such that he would “legistlate from the bench”, so to speak, or become an “activist judge”.

So you either take Roberts on his word or you don’t. Admittedly, there’s not much more to go on in his short tenure as a Federal Judge. His evasiveness, while disappointing, is par for the course in the ritual we call “nomination hearings”, and to expect something more, while principled, was never realistic.

Repeat after me: He’s not another Scalia (we hope like Hell). I cannot think of a likely Bush nominee who we could be more enthusiastic about, when all is said and done. As Roberts wasn’t worth a Senate-altering battle over, I guess I’m going to be optimistic that he really is a man of integrity and sound jurisprudence, as, for instance, Sen. Leahy believes him to be.