Where's the passion in the opposition to Roberts?

Janet Alexander jca at stanford.edu
Mon Jul 25 16:01:52 PDT 2005


At 08:25 AM 7/25/2005 -0400, Mark Tushnet wrote:
>"Of Supreme Court nominees, he's probably had the most distinguished 
>career as a practicing lawyer since Thurgood Marshall." !!! How about, oh, 
>say, Lewis Powell (ABA president, civic activist, etc.).


I was thinking of Ginsburg and Powell when I wrote "probably."  My point 
was that Roberts' national reputation as a lawyer before being appointed to 
the DC Circuit places him in a distinct minority of Bush nominees and 
short-listers.

In response to Earl Maltz, yes, it's sometimes hard to distinguish whether 
nominees such as Thomas and Brown should be characterized as 
"insufficiently qualified" or "extremist ideologue," particularly when 
being an ideologue is a more important criterion for nomination than legal 
excellence and ideologues may write bad opinions to get to a 
result.  Simply holding an office doesn't make one qualified if performance 
in the office is mediocre.  True, Brown served on the California Supreme 
Court (though not for "over a decade"), but her opinions and speeches as a 
sitting justice demonstrate mediocrity as well as extreme ideology and 
willingness to disregard settled law to achieve ideological 
results.   Thomas's credentials were skimpy (I don't agree with Maltz that 
chairing the EEOC qualifies one to be on the Supreme Court) and his tenure 
as head of the EEOC was not marked by brilliance.

         Janet Alexander
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