Roberts, with 20 months on the D.C. Circuit, has few opinions or other writings that have attracted enemies. As a result, some conservatives have made unflattering comparisons between Roberts and Supreme Court Justice David Souter, whose short stint on the 1st Circuit before being appointed in 1990 by President George H.W. Bush failed to reveal Souter's moderate-to-liberal leanings on some issues.Independent Judiciary:
Yet those who know Roberts say he, unlike Souter, is a reliable conservative who can be counted on to undermine if not immediately overturn liberal landmarks like abortion rights and affirmative action. Indicators of his true stripes cited by friends include: clerking for Rehnquist, membership in the Federalist Society, laboring in the Ronald Reagan White House counsel's office and at the Justice Department into the Bush years, working with Kenneth Starr among others, and even his lunchtime conversations at Hogan & Hartson. "He is as conservative as you can get," one friend puts it. In short, Roberts may combine the stealth appeal of Souter with the unwavering ideology of Scalia and Thomas.
As a Deputy Solicitor General, Mr. Roberts co-wrote a Supreme Court brief in Rust v. Sullivan ... not only argued that the regulations were constitutional, notwithstanding the Supreme Court's decision in Roe v. Wade, but it also made the broader argument that Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided --- an argument unnecessary to defend the regulation.Washington Post:
argued that public high schools can include religious ceremonies in their graduation programs
After a Supreme Court decision effectively nullified certain sections of the Voting Rights Act, Roberts was involved in the Reagan administration's effort to prevent Congress from overturning the Supreme Court's action.
Critics have already called attention to his writings on abortion. As deputy solicitor general in the George H.W. Bush administration, Roberts signed a brief on abortion financing that argued in a footnote that Roe v. Wade , which established a constitutional right to abortion, should be overturned because it "finds no support in the text, structure or history of the Constitution."Digby quoting Jeff Toobin's book about the 2000 presidential election, Too Close to Call:
The president's first two nominations to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia curcuit --- generally regarded as the stepping-stone to the Supreme Court --- went to Miguel Estrada and John G Roberts Jr., who had played important behind-the scenes roles in the Florida litigation.... and commenting himself:
My initial take on reading around the web on Roberts is that he's a purely political choice --- a Republican die-hard to the bone. This means that even if he isn't seen as "ideological" in theory, he's ideological in practice. They all are.And for the truly hardcore, Bruce Ackerman's been thinking about the whole nomination process.
He's spent his entire adult life in Washington. He's been a judge for only two years. Before that he represented corporations and worked for Republican administrations. That's it. He's not a scholar or a prosecutor or someone who has ever worked in the trenches. He's a creature of the radical right GOP establishment.
Good choice for Bush. He'll take care of his friends. And he knows exactly what he's supposed to deliver.