Bench Memos

NRO’s home for judicial news and analysis.

“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.

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.


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