Bench Memos

NRO’s home for judicial news and analysis.

The French-Fry Flapdoodle


The most powerful ammunition the Left can muster against Judge Roberts appears to be a soggy French fry.

I have already explained how Judge Roberts’s unanimous opinion in the Hedgepeth case illustrates that he understands the role of a judge. And Beldar properly takes Slate’s Dahlia Lithwick to task for her dishonest and baseless suggestion that Roberts “seemingly finds arresting [minors] for French-fry possession to be a cornerstone in good parent-child relations.” But given the continuing silliness, like Washington Post columnist Marc Fisher’s piece yesterday, a few points may warrant emphasis:

1. Judge Roberts’s unanimous opinion affirmed the judgment of the district judge, Clinton appointee (and winner of the Thurgood Marshall Award of Excellence) Emmet Sullivan. Not surprisingly, it appears that none of Roberts’s colleagues on the D.C. Circuit called for this rather simple case to be reconsidered en banc.

2. Nothing in Roberts’s opinion can remotely be read to suggest sympathy for the zero-tolerance policy that D.C. had in place.

3. It is very amusing that advocates of expanded D.C. “home rule,” like Fisher, won’t even trust D.C. officials to establish food policies in Metro stations. The Framers had faith that Americans were fit for self-governance. Those on the Left who think judges have a roving mandate to correct every stupid law or policy plainly don’t share that faith.


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