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August 04, 2005


Wow. I'm still trying to get my brain around the possibility that, despite the Administration's very great efforts to ensure otherwise, John Roberts could turn out be another Souter on any issue at all, much less gay rights. And I'm still trying to decide, after reading this Los Angeles Times article (and many others), whether Roberts was just behaving as the kind of lawyer who brings all his intellectual skills to bear in every case no matter what his personal views or someone who was expressing his own deeply held beliefs.

So Supreme Court Justices ought to be subject to impeachment for doing what Alberto Gonzales said the other day they had the right to do?

There's a good line of questioning.

Well I was joking about the impeachment, but there are a lot of people out there who would impeach him over this. Phyllis Schlafly probably would, after she's done celebrating her 200th birthday.

You may have been joking, but the NLF article you pointed to wasn't. It links to a Regent University (Pat Robertson's School for Wayward Fundies) Law Review article explicitly making the case for the same mass judicial impeachments featured at the recent "Justice Sunday" extravaganza.

But just the other day, Gonzo told everyone that Roberts, as a Supreme, wouldn't be bound by stare decisis in the same way he was as a circuit court judge. And he's right. But it also seems that's the sort of activism the NLF thinks you should be impeached for.

So which is it, fellas? The prerogative of the SCOTUS? Or grounds for impeachment?

I think even the leaders honestly don't want to impeach anyone, they just say that to get more $$$ and adoration. But the base certainly is itching to impeach someone, so it will be interesting to see what happens if Roberts is not what they expect.

In my experience, the people who are virulent on the issue of gays are either opportunistic politicians or people who are not quite right with themselves and/or their circumstances in some way and use anti-gay expressions to cover things they will not face about themselves, whether it is homosexual feelings or pewrsonal failure.

OTOH, it is quite believable to me that an intelligent, heterosexual, traditional conservative could not have any particular feelings about gays one way or the other, or could include gays in a kind of general tolerance and good manners towards others.

Roberts is always described as well-mannered, and he may fall into this category. He may also have or have had a gay friend or relative through whom he came to see gays as people.

Someone like that could easily lend his considerable appellate advocacy skills to help someone with an oral argument that he himself might not have made, or even one that he would have made had he been the advocate for the cause.

This is a long way around saying that it shows only that he does not have the kind of anti-gay animus that would lead him to refuse to work on that side of that case. So he probably is a pretty well-adjusted conservative man from a pretty comfortable background. I don't see him as a Souter. The best we could hope for is a Kennedy, although Kennedy reportedly learned some of his tolerance from his children, and Roberts' kids are awfully young to be making any difference at this point.

You're probably quite right. The law review article says DeLay has been threatening judges with impeachment since at least 1997.

It's clearly a function of what we'll start calling the WTMWK (What's the Matter with Kansas?) factor.

One more point--I do not at all find it unbelievable that he did not list this case, as he was called in to consult and do a moot court. During my 20 plus years as a lawyer I did a fair number of appellate arguments, and was asked to do similar consultations. I don't think I could remember all the cases. And since it was pro bono, there would probably not be a specific time record, but rather some catch-all billing line. Of course maybe bring appointed to the Supreme Court would cause me to recover the memory, but if he took this part off his appellate court application, maybe it was just an oversight. Which again would mean that such a case was not such a big deal to him that it would stand out from the many other Supreme Court cases on which he no doubt also consulted.

But as Kevin Drum asks, the more interesting question is where did the reporter get this story, why was it given to him, and why was it written?

That "Fountain of Truth", the man who is the living embodiment of the joke in The Sopranos about the 95 pound mole (i.e., he could have had the 95 pound boil on his fat ass removed back when he was up for the Vietnam draft and no one would have noticed), has come up with The Truth About Roberts:

It's some sort of left-wing smear to mess up the Right, to bring up this story about Justice Roberts.

Watching Dobson and the rest of the Taliban get their burkas in a knot over this is fun-neeeeee.

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