Bench Memos

NRO’s home for judicial news and analysis.

Re: Left Behind


I posted on Saturday morning some predictions that an astute observer had passed along on Friday morning. Here’s the observer’s postscript:

As predicted, the Left’s strategy for attacking John Roberts is now coming into much clearer focus — and it will be even more personal and vicious than previously anticipated. In a weekend speech to Leftist legal elites, John Edwards derided Roberts as “a partisan for conservative causes” opposed to voting rights and remedies for discrimination on the basis of sex and race. Edwards, of course, voted to confirm John Roberts before he came out against him. Not to be outdone, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund’s Elaine Jones gave an even more inflammatory speech linking Roberts to the authors of Dred Scott and to John W. Davis, the New York litigator who opposed desegregation in the Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court arguments. And, magically on cue this morning, the Washington Post features an extended “analysis” of Roberts’ role in “incendiary” civil rights policy disputes during the Reagan Administration.

The Post’s article makes it clear that the attempt to defeat Roberts by re-litigating the Reagan civil rights record is well underway. But the Left can only prevail in this effort if conservatives stand by and do not remind the public about the abuses and injustices the Reagan era lawyers sought to address — reverse discrimination against qualified non-minorities, expansive busing orders that were opposed by minority and non-minority parents alike, runaway liberal judges, civil rights extremists like Mary Frances Berry, and more. If allowed to dictate the boundaries of the debate, the Left will head to the gutter, redefining Roberts as an anti-civil rights extremist, instead of the principled jurist just about everyone perceived him to be a few weeks ago.


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