July 19, 2005

The big announcement.

I'm watching the announcement on FoxNews.

Fred Barnes calls Roberts "a safe pick," and says he'll be easily confirmed.

Mort Kondrake points to Roberts' stellar credentials.

Bill Kristol says it's not a safe pick but a "bold" choice. A woman or a member of a minority group would have been safe.

Now here's Bush, striding out with Roberts. Bush speaks of Roberts' "superb credentials" and his "highest integrity."

(Roberts looks a lot like Bush, doesn't he?)

MORE: It's "stunning," says Bill Kristol after the announcemnt, that Bush picked one of the top conservatives. He says Roberts is "a little more incremental" than Scalia and Thomas and less of a "movement conservative" than Luttig.

Senator Leahy: "No one's entitled to a free pass to the Supreme Court."

Senator Schumer -- who sounds much angrier than Leahy -- talks about voting against Roberts for the Court of Appeals, supposedly because he didn't answer questions. Per Brit Hume, only three Senators voted against Robert then, the other two being Durbin and Kennedy.

28 comments:

Dirty Harry said...

Not a gray hair on his head. Heh. Heh. Heh.

amy said...

Why on earth is this man wearing a brown suit? He might as well be wearing flip flops (and maybe he is).

I've never heard of this guy, but he does seem to be a somewhat squeaky clean choice. We'll see how his nanny holds up.

PatCA said...

I think he's cute. Very Mr. Smith Goes to Washington!

That's the extent of my legalistic critique.

Dirty Harry said...

We should start a pool: First liberal media use of the phrase, "extremist." And "back alley abortion."

A buck a square?

vnjagvet said...

Superb choice. He will be confirmed. Gnashing of teeth by many, voted against by not enough. Enough of the 14 will prevent a filibuster.

It may take a while, but he will take his seat in September.

nina said...

Born in 1955. With a thin record. So a long term with perhaps surprises in store. May they be good ones.

Wade_Garrett said...

I was holding out for Sotomayor right up until the end, becaue I like her and thought that a female Hispanic with a brain as big as hers would be a can't miss.

At least this guy is from my hometown of Buffalo - that's a nice consolation prize.

miklos rosza said...

Good choice.

Dirty Harry said...

By not choosing a woman this time, I think Bush helped himself when Rehnquist retires.

He can nominate an even more conservative woman than he could a man and with a second vacancy the Dems will be even more freaked and nasty. A woman's harder to smear.

Mark the Pundit said...

Does anyone know if a former clerk to a Supreme Court justice has ever been able to serve as a fellow justice along side the justice he clerked for?

Dave said...

So what's the 411 on this guy? Never heard of him.

EddieP said...

With Kennedy, Durban and Schumer against him, he must be a highly qualified, independent thinker.

Definitely not their kind of judge.

BJK said...

Running through my criteria from earlier this week
- Federal Court of Appeals judge,
- Female,
- Fairly young (as to remain on the court for a long period....too young could signify a lack of experience),
- Confirmed during the Bush administration without much controversy (in an attempt to tie the hands of the opposition), and
- Conservative.


Maybe it was all the media lead-in, but the only point on which I missed was gender. Can you imagine a more perfect candidate than one originally opposed by only Durbin, Kennedy, and Schumer? (I daresay they weren't going to vote for the President's nominee anyway.)

Roberts seems like a fairly confirmable choice, which is almost an admission that the real battle may be President Bush's second nominee in 2006 / 2007.

Ann Althouse said...

Amy: Maybe the brown suit was a tribute to Reagan, who often wore the offbeat color.

Patca: Yes, he has the somewhat elfin quality that Bush has.

Nina: The thin judicial record makes it hard to attack him. But I think the conservatives who backed him think they know he's not "another Souter," or why would they have wanted him? They are so dedicated to avoiding stealth liberals.

Funny that we're already so involved in speculating about the next appointment!

Ann Althouse said...

Mark the Pundit: The answer I'm seeing is that Roberts is the first. The only other former clerks are Rehnquist (who clerked for Jackson and came on the court long after him), Stevens (who clerked for Rutledge, and ditto), and Byron White (who clerked for Vinson, and ditto).

Ann Althouse said...

And Breyer clerked for Goldberg (who was long gone when Breyer started).

alikarimbey said...

You can expect the next opening, that of the Chief, will be a woman. Bush gets two-home runs back to back.

Dirty__Harry said...

If you think Schumer looked bad, you should've seen Dana Milbank and Keith Olberman on "Countdown" when the news leaked. They both looked like someone had died.

amba said...

"(Roberts looks a lot like Bush, doesn't he?)"

No. Roberts looks like Bill Kristol.

amba said...

Those startlingly magnified-looking eyes.

Justin said...

Professor Althouse:

What do you make of "I'm a Senator" Schumer's gripe against Roberts that he failed to answer the following question (or something close to it)during his first go-around for confirmation: "name three decisions of the Supreme Court's existing precedent that you do not agree with, and why?"

How is the question relevant for qualification? And wouldn't forcing an answer go against the "Ginsburg Rules" for potentially all existing precedent is still subject to reversal?

Justin said...

"A safe pick"? Who was Fred Barnes thinking that President Bush would nominate that would have qualified as "bold"?

Wade_Garrett said...

EddieP - why would you ever think that Bush wants an independent thinker? Wouldn't he want somebody predictable, so as to avoid future Souters and Kennedys?

Sloanasaurus said...

I am still looking forward to Schumer's coat-hanger speech. It should be a good one.

Nick said...

I'm a bit confused because this NY Times article says:

"Since 2003, Judge Roberts has served on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, to which he was confirmed by unanimous consent of the Senate"

So was it a unanimous confirmation or did 3 people vote against him? And does a unanimous confirmation in '03 make it a harder case to deny a confirmation now?

Ann Althouse said...

Nick: the three votes against him were on the Judiciary Committee. The unanimous consent procedure was used in the full Senate, so individual votes weren't recorded.

Ann Althouse said...

Justin: A bold pick would be someone strongly committed to issues, especially abortion. Or maybe someone without a rock-solid resume.

As to Schumer's question -- of course, it had to be resisted. You're going to be attacked whatever you do, and not going down that path was the sensible choice.

Michael said...

I worked at the same firm with Roberts many moons ago. Of course I was just a lowly staff person and recent college graduate at the time. But I had no problem recognizing the guy on TV last night - 9 years after me leaving that firm. Even back then, everyone knew he was a major player. My own personal experience - which might've amounted to a total of 20 minutes with him - is that he was extremely nice and very funny - a rare combination for some big-firm partners. He was definitely a favorite of the library staff.