My personal musings about anything that gets on my radar screen--heavily dominated by politics.


How's THAT For A Backhanded Compliment

Howard Fineman starts out his column on the MSNBC website, subtitled "The brilliance of the President's Supreme Court Choice" like this:

George W. Bush keeps surprising the wise guys. They keep thinking that he’s going to be something other than what he is and that he will do something other than what he says he will do.

Fair enough. Seems like this might be a article about the shell game the White House played on reporters and the carefu orchestration of the President's announcement. And, to some degree, it is [quote: Bush said he wanted to choose justices in the Scalia-Thomas tradition. Why would anyone think that he wouldn’t follow through on that promise?. But buried within the article are the following myths, editorials, and half-truths:

He is as loyal as a hunting dog. On a personal level, his inner circles stay inner and stay around him forever. It’s the same with politics. He owes “the base” — religious conservatives, corporate conservatives, Federalist Society libertarian conservatives — and he pays. . .

Doggedness is not necessarily the same thing as candor, by the way. Once Bush decided to go to Iraq — and that may well have been before he was elected — he was going to go there, come hell or high water. . .

Luttig has been on the federal bench for many years and, as a result, has an enormous record of written opinions for liberal foes to dissect. Not Roberts. He’s been on the bench for less than two years and may well have wanted to steer clear of incendiary social issues while he bided his time. . .

At his confirmation hearings for the Court of Appeals, Roberts said he held no personal views that would “prevent” him from upholding Roe if he had to. What a brilliant locution! He didn’t say that he WOULD uphold Roe in all circumstances — only that he wouldn’t necessarily overturn it. . .

[as HH pointed out:]He and his wife are members of a suburban Catholic parish known for its good educational programs and rock-steady values. His two kids are adopted. Washington sits on a substratum of Catholic conservatism that few people who aren’t from here understand. It goes back to Georgetown University and pre-D.C. Maryland history. It is that community that Roberts represents, and that Bush is paying homage to with this pick.

With friends like these . . .

Also notice, buried deep within the article are these partial endorsements:

As deputy solicitor general under Bush One in 1991, Roberts signed the now-famous brief advocating the overturning of Roe v. Wade.

But his supporters, and even some Democrats, such as David Boies, make the mitigating argument that Roberts was only acting as an advocate for his client

and . . .

Boies and Walter Dellinger, two of the best (Democratic) Supreme Court advocates around, sing Roberts’ praises.

They have faith that he will listen to reason when presented with well-crafted arguments on the high court. They think he is the opposite of a hack. It’s not just the Harvard/Harvard credentials, but the skill he has shown in the 39 cases he presented to the court over his years as a lawyer with Hogan and Hartson here in Washington.

I bring those up for two reasons. One, the obvious. But two, you've already started hearing about this nomination is a payback for Roberts' role during the 2000 election. Remember who else played a role in the 2000 election? That's right--arguing for the defendant in Bush v. Gore before the Supreme Court was none other than David Boies.

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