No on Roberts
Posted: August 8, 2005
1:00 a.m. Eastern
By Joseph Farah
Between the Lines
I don't know who makes me sicker – President Bush or the "conservatives" who continue to back him and his sell-out choice for the U.S. Supreme Court.
The conservatives eagerly jumped in to throw their support to the unknown John Roberts as soon as the choice to replace Sandra Day O'Connor was announced.
On what basis? The guy was a blank slate – like David Souter and Anthony Kennedy before him.
Then, last week, the Los Angeles Times broke the story that Roberts had volunteered his services – pro bono – to help prepare a landmark homosexual activist case to be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court.
He did his job well. But he didn't serve the public interest. And he certainly no longer sounds like the carefully crafted image of a jurist who believes in the Constitution and judicial restraint.
The 1996 Romer vs. Evans case produced what the homosexual activists considered, at the time, its most significant legal victory, paving the way for an even bigger one – Lawrence vs. Texas, the Supreme Court ruling that effectively overturned all laws prohibiting sodomy in the United States.
There was some immediate concern expressed by conservatives following the story. But after being assured by the White House that everything was all right, they quickly fell into line, quietly paving the way for what I predict will be a unanimous or near-unanimous confirmation vote in the U.S. Senate.
Some conservatives even suggested the story in the L.A. Times was designed to divide conservatives. If that isn't a case of blaming the messenger! No, the point of the L.A. Times story was to bring the Democrats on board – to reassure them that Roberts is definitely in the mold of Souter and Kennedy.
As disappointing as Bush has been as president, I really didn't expect him to nominate a constitutionalist to replace O'Connor.
But the vast majority of establishment conservative leaders have no idea how they are being manipulated.
It's really sad.
They simply buy into the White House talking points, which say Roberts was merely being a good soldier for his law firm.
Roberts was a partner in the firm. His job was not in jeopardy if he excused himself from the case on principled moral grounds. That would have been the honorable thing to do – either that, or resign from a law partnership that took such reprehensible clients.
Now that would be the kind of jurist I could support to serve on the Supreme Court for a lifetime appointment.
Walter A. Smith, the attorney in charge of pro bono work at Hogan & Hartson from 1993 to 1997, who worked with Roberts on the Romer case, said Roberts expressed no hesitation at taking the case. He jumped at the opportunity.
"Every good lawyer knows that if there is something in his client's cause that so personally offends you, morally, religiously, if it offends you that you think it would undermine your ability to do your duty as a lawyer, then you shouldn't take it on, and John wouldn't have," he said. "So at a minimum, he had no concerns that would rise to that level."
Keep in mind the intent and result of this case. It overturned a provision of the Colorado Constitution that blocked special rights for people based on their sexual proclivities.
Roberts did not have a moral problem with that. He did not have a moral problem with helping those activists win a major battle in the culture war. He did not have a moral problem with using the Supreme Court to interfere in the sovereign decisions of a sovereign people in a sovereign state. He did not have a moral problem coaching homosexual activists on how to play politics with the court.
This was not just an "intellectual exercise," as some have suggested. Roberts' actions had real impact on the future of our nation.
He ought to be ashamed of himself as a self-proclaimed Catholic. In some dioceses, he would be denied communion for his betrayal of his faith.
He ought to be denied a confirmation vote by the U.S. Senate. But I predict he will get every Republican vote and nearly all of the Democrat votes.
Sad. Tragic. Pathetic.
"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."
-John F. Kennedy