Bench Memos

NRO’s home for judicial news and analysis.

Stop the Madness!


Consultation Craziness: Ralph Neas on CNN just announced he is disappointed that Harry Reid and Bill Frist weren’t standing next to him as he made his announcement.

It’s going to be a long ridiculous ride.



I understand Dick Durbin’s original draft statement accused Roberts of being Pol Pot’s lawyer.


What People for the American Way Is Saying


Kathryn :

This evening, President Bush nominated John Roberts to replace Justice Sandra Day O’Connor on the Supreme Court. The Radical Right has been chomping at the bit for weeks in anticipation of this announcement. The Senate must now stand up to the pressure to simply rubber-stamp the President’s pick. Tell your Senators to fulfill their constitutional obligation to advise and consent.

The next 24 hours are crucial. Tell your Senators to withold their support for Robert’s nomination until they have all the facts about his troubling record. Unless you and thousands of other activists speak out right away, the Bush administration may lock up the support of dozens of members before the confirmation process truly gets underway and the American people have a chance to learn where Roberts stands.

At this critical moment, we need you to do more than just call or write your Senators.

We need you to do both, and get your friends to do the same.

1) Call Senator Schumer at (202) 224-6542 and Senator Clinton at (202) 224-4451to demand that they thoroughly review John Robert’s record before lending him their support.

2) Write Senators Schumer and Clinton to make sure they heard the message you delivered to them by phone.

3) Forward this email to your friends, amplifying your message by getting them to call and write their Senators themselves.

John Roberts

What we know about John Robert’s record as Deputy Solicitor General and as a judge shows a troubling lack of concern for the fundamental civil and constitutional rights of all Americans. Americans deserve a justice who will protect our rights and freedoms. Serious questions must be addressed before Robert’s nomination to the nation’s highest court can be evaluated properly.

Some alarming aspects of Robert’s record they must consider include:

Reproductive and Privacy Rights: Roberts urged the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade while arguing before the Court as Deputy Solicitor General in a case that did not even directly concern that issue. His brief plainly states that “Roe was wrongly decided and should be overruled.”

Separation of Church and State: Roberts argued against clear First Amendment protections for religious liberty and in favor of officially sponsored school prayer at graduation ceremonies before the Supreme Court, which rejected his argument.

Environmental Protections: As a judge, Roberts suggested in a dissent that the Endangered Species Act was unconstitutional as applied to a California development case.

Veteran Protections: Roberts argued American POWs tortured in Iraq during the Gulf War should not be able to utilize federal courts to pursue their claims.

Excessive Arrest Procedures: Roberts ruled against a 12-year old girl who was handcuffed, arrested and taken away by police for eating a single French fry on the D.C. Metro, even though an adult would only have gotten a paper citation in that situation.

Your Senators need to hear from you today–there must not be a rush to confirm John Roberts until all the facts are in! Call and write your Senators to demand that they fulfill their constitutional obligations of advice and consent – our rights hang in the balance!

–Your Allies at People For the American Way


Phone: (202) 224-6542


Phone: (202) 224-4451

Click hear to send them a message.

Support PFAW’s Supreme Court Defense Fund

I Know I’m an Obsessed Junkie Type


But at 10:14 I realized Greta was already back in Aruba.

“Looks Like Him”


Susan Estrich just said on Fox that Roberts “looks like” Bush. Uh, meaning, he’s a white guy?


Roberts in His Own Words


Bush’s Announcement


The Knights of Columbus Get Behind the Choice


Supreme Knight calls Supreme Court nomination “a first rate choice”

Judge Roberts “among the finest judges in the land”

(NEW HAVEN, CT.) – Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson, head of the 1.7 million member Knights of Columbus, this evening called Judge John Roberts “a first rate choice for the United States Supreme Court.” President Bush announced that he would nominate Roberts in a nationally-televised address earlier tonight.

“Judge Roberts is exactly the kind of nominee that members of both parties have described as the kind of choice the President should make,” Anderson said. “He is one of the brightest legal minds in America, graduating at the top of his class at Harvard Law School, and has a well-deserved reputation for fairness, integrity and superb judicial temperament on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.”

“During his years in private practice,” Anderson recalled, “he argued a case pro bono – free of charge – on behalf of some of the District’s neediest welfare recipients, who were about to lose their benefits under the D.C.
Public Assistance Act. He is someone who knows and appreciates the plight of the poor, especially those who have the most difficult time getting fair and even-handed treatment in our legal system.”

“Judge Roberts’ experience in private practice, in the Executive Branch, and as a Judge make him exceptionally well-qualified to serve on the U.S.
Supreme Court, and we applaud President Bush for making such an excellent nomination to fill the vacancy created by Justice O’Connor’s retirement,”
Anderson concluded.

The Knights of Columbus is the world’s largest Catholic lay organization, with more than 1.7 million members around the world.

From an RNC Release...Some Good Rounding Up


That these are from Jeffrey Toobin, who wants snapped at me on air for daring to be “divisive” is not small thing:

CNN’s Jeffrey Toobin: “[Roberts] Is A Very Smart Guy. He’s Argued In Front Of The U.S. Supreme Court, Which Is Awfully Good Practice.” (CNN’s “Paula Zahn Live,” 7/19/05)

Toobin: “[Roberts] Is A Very Distinguished Lawyer. This Is The Kind Of Lawyer That People Have Been Talking About For 20 Years, About Being On The Supreme Court. He Is Someone Who Has A — Who Has The Experience That Makes Him A Plausible Candidate.” (CNN’s “Paula Zahn Live,” 7/19/05)

Toobin: “When It Comes To Credentials, There Can’t Be Any Argument That John Roberts Isn’t Qualified.” (CNN, “Paula Zahn Live,” 7/19/05)

Toobin: “Harry Reid Has To Bow To Reality. He Does Have Suitable Credentials.” (CNN, 7/19/05)

More here.

Roberts’s Enemies

Text has a round-up of those who opposed John Roberts’s nomination to the D.C. Circuit. Of course, in the end he made it through committee 14-3, and was confirmed by unanimous consent.

Nan Aron on Roberts


Nan Aron is on record saying the Alliance for Justice would urge Senate Democrats to filibuster the nomination of Judge Roberts to the Supreme Court (and she said it at the time most folks thought CJ Rehnquist would be retiring).

Scalia on Roberts


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.


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