Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Stealth nominees

Back in February, Bruce Ackerman wrote an article outlining the history of stealth nominees to the Supreme Court and warning of the dangers of new neo-conservative stealth nominees from GWB. I highly recommend the article, if only to get a sense of what is at stake with this nomination.

I don't know whether Ackerman would consider Roberts a stealth nominee. Roberts' track record doesn't really seem to be easily categorized as mainline conservative or neoconservative. However, as Lono points out in my comments, it's obvious that he holds environmental regulations in low regard and would likely side with those on the Court who seek to shrink Congress' commerce clause powers. Moreover, this Nation article suggests that Roberts has bought into the concept of the unitary executive and would support continued efforts to shift power into the hands of an increasingly monarchical executive branch. These facts, alone, should give any concerned progressive pause and certainly suggest that Roberts would shift the Supreme Court even further to the right.

Reading back over my intial post this morning, I seem to suggest that the Senate should defer to the President and vote for Roberts. I did not mean to suggest this. Rather, I was trying (and pretty much failing) to argue that citizens and Senators alike should hear a full vetting of Roberts' record and views before deciding whether he should be our next Justice. I don't know how to articulate it, but I still don't feel that his profound conservatism alone is enough to disqualify him. The real question is whether he will not only uphold the Constitution, but also support the values and beliefs that make our pluralistic democracy strong (i.e. separation of powers, right to privacy, etc.).