Bench Memos

NRO’s home for judicial news and analysis.

The Democratic Responses to the Roberts Pick


makes clear to me it really didn’t matter at all who the nominee was (as if I had any doubt). They’d oppose him. Schumer and co are not happy at all. Shocking.

“I look forward to the Next Step in the Process” the Senate


God bless him good people like him who are willing to endure that!


Bush Reminds/Tells the Country


The man standing next to him was confirmed by unanimous consent by the Senate for his current job.

Bush Gets It


That’s my basic wrap-up, listening to him announce the Roberts nomination. Bush picked Roberts–didn’t play identity poltics. And he is making this announcemnent during primetime. The president is now emphasizing that the Supreme Court’s decisions influence the lives of every American (they can take your house!) He gets how important the Supreme Court is.

UPDATE: He will not legislate from the bench. Did I mention he gets it?

“allegedly senator schumer is not happy” with roberts


Morton Kondrake just said on FNC. “Presumably because it will be hard to make war on him.”


Re: Roberts


John Roberts is an excellent choice–one of the best available–for the Supreme Court. He is a lawyer’s lawyer, and has the reputation for being one of the finest appellate advocates to argue before the Supreme Court. He was a fine brief writer, and has garnered a reputation as a D.C. Court of Appeals Judge for being an excellent opinion writer, authoring concise, well-reasoned decisions.

Any attempt to filibuster him should be dismissed as silliness: when they finally permitted a vote on Roberts for the court of appeals, he was confirmed by unanimous consent. If the Democrats attempt to call him an “extraordinary circumstance” and use the filibuster, it will show their own disengenuity, and will guarantee not only the use of the nuclear option permanently ending the judicial filibusters, but public support for the nuclear option.

Roberts on Roe


from a few weeks back, from Juan Non-Volokh

An “Anti-Abortion Group”


says Roberts is “unsuitable” acccording to CNN. I didn’t catch the name–was on the text scroll. And somehow this anti-abortion group evidently doesn’t have me on their press release list.

The D.C. Circuit


Once Roberts is confirmed – as I am sure he will be – the next question is who to nominate to the D.C. Circuit. My pick, if he were willing to accept the nomination (and he has reasons not to), would be Miguel Estrada. Other solid picks would be Maureen Mahoney or Peter Keisler.

“In the Ballpark”


Joe Lieberman, beforethe pick: “He said federal appellate Judges Michael McConnell and John G. Roberts were ‘in the ballpark,’ and that ‘people tell me’ appeals court Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson is ‘very similar.’”

You’ll Be Hearing This A Lot in Coming Days


President Clinton’s two nominations took an average of 58 days from nomination to confirmation.

Congratulations, President Bush


President Bush deserves great credit for his outstanding selection of John Roberts. He has fulfilled his promise to nominate someone who has excellent credentials and who understands the role of the judiciary in our constitutional republic.

Cornyn, Not the Nominee, Comments on the Nominee


U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and former Texas Supreme Court justice, made the following statement regarding the expected nomination of Judge John G. Roberts, Jr., 54, to the Supreme Court of the United States:

“The President will soon announce his nominee to the Supreme Court: Judge John G. Roberts, Jr, currently serving on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. In doing so, he will urge the Senate to consider this nomination thoroughly and expeditiously. The President has done his part, and now we in the Senate must do ours. We must ensure that the nominations process does honor to the Supreme Court, to the Senate, and to the Nation.”

“Judge Roberts is an exceptional judge, brilliant legal mind, and a man of outstanding character who understands his profound duty to follow the law. He has enjoyed a distinguished history of public service and professional achievement. It is clear to me that Judge Robert’s history has prepared him well for the honor of serving this country on our nation’s highest Court, and I strongly support his nomination.

“The nominations process should reflect the best of the American judiciary – not the worst of American politics. America deserves a nominee who reveres the law, not one whose service on the bench is conditioned on political promises. As we proceed, let us do so with dignity and respect, as anything less would dishonor our nation’s founding commitment to the rule of law. The process ahead must be marked by an appreciation of the high office involved, and a personal respect for this fine nominee.”

Judge Roberts received his bachelor’s degree from Harvard University in 1976, his law degree from Harvard Law School in 1979, and upon graduation became law clerk for the Hon. Henry Friendly, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, 1979-1980. He then worked as law clerk for U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice William Rehnquist, 1980-1981; special assistant to the attorney general, U.S. Department of Justice, 1981-1982; associate counsel to the president, White House Counsel’s Office, 1982-1986; private practiced law in Washington, DC, 1986-1989, 1993-2003; and served as principal deputy solicitor general, U.S. Department of Justice, 1989-1993.

Life In the Family


Since the Washington Post wrote about Bush’s women and abortion today, how about Judge Roberts’s? John Roberts’s wife, Jane, has served as executive vice president of Feminists for Life (FFL is one of my favorite groups).

Harry Reid’s Lukewarm Statement


John Roberts, he says, has “suitable legal credentials.”

He has to prove his commitment to “freedom, equality, and fairness”

Another Reason It Should Be Hard to Give Him a Hard Time


From AP:

Roberts’ nomination to the appellate court attracted support from both sites of the ideological spectrum. Some 126 members of the District of Columbia Bar, including officials of the Clinton administration, signed a letter urging his confirmation. The letter said Roberts was one of the “very best and most highly respected appellate lawyers in the nation” and that his reputation as a “brilliant writer and oral advocate” was well deserved.

I Do Love


that the president has not established the O’Connor seat as a Women’s Only seat. And, ahem, they said he couldn’t do it.

What National Journal has Said About Roberts


“John Roberts seems a good bet to be the kind of judge we should all want to have — all of us, that is, who are looking less for congenial ideologues than for professionals committed to the impartial application of the law.”

Confirming Him


Dems will, of course, find a way to give him a hard time, but they’ve got the obstacle of having fairly recently put him through the Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation deal fairly recently for his D.C. Circuit seat–May 2003.

RE: Roberts


If he is confirmed without too much to-do, my faith in the judicial nomination process might be restored. I recently told a liberal friend that Roberts truly is the “best available” nominee. When she asked what that meant (and wondered “if Roberts is a old white guy or worse a middle aged white guy?” I responded as follows:
John Roberts was confirmed to the D.C. Circuit court of Appeals in the last few years, though he was first nominated in 1991 by Bush 41. He is a “middle-aged white guy,” but he is universally regarded as among the best Supreme Court advocate in the nation, bar none. He clerked for Rehnquist, was deputy SG, is a remarkable oral advocate and a sharp legal mind. He is liked and admired by all of the current justices, who regularly look forward to cases in which he is representing one of the parties because of the quality of his work. If a case is winnable, he will win it. It is a travesty he was not confirmed to the D.C. Circuit in the 1990s when first nominated. Setting aside ideology — and he has a sterling conservative reputation despite the relative lack of a paper trail — he is close to the Platonic ideal of what a Supreme Court nominee should be.


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