In nominating Judge John G. Roberts Jr. to the Supreme Court, President Bush picked a man of substance and seriousness. Judge Roberts has served only briefly on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, but he was previously among the country’s best-regarded appellate lawyers, both in private practice and as deputy solicitor general during the administration of George H.W. Bush. Judge Roberts is a conservative, but he has never been an ideological crusader; he has admirers among liberals. If confirmed as the successor to Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, it is likely that he will shift the Supreme Court toward the right. But his nomination is not a provocation to Democrats — as some other possible nominees would have been. Mr. Bush deserves credit for selecting someone with the potential to attract broad support.
Yet the Post also makes the mistake of echoing liberal talking points when it says Roberts “argued” before the Supreme Court that Roe should be overturned. Yes, Roberts was one of multiple lawyers on the brief (the sixth one listed, as detailed here), but he did not argue the case. That was his boss, then-Solicitor General Ken Starr. Moreover, Lawrence Tribe, who argued the case for the other side, has said the references to Roe in the brief were not gratuitous and necessary for the argument the government sought to make. The Post should correct the record on this point.