Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Roberts Hearing II

More of today's highlights, all from questioning by Lindsay Graham:
GRAHAM: Justice Scalia: Do you consider him conservative?


GRAHAM: Do you think you're more conservative than he is?

ROBERTS: Oh, I don't know. I mean, I wouldn't...

GRAHAM: Well, he got 98 votes. And I think you're a conservative, but I think you're one of the great minds of our generation, of our time. And I'm dying to find out if you get any votes on the other side.
Good point.

Earlier in the day, Senator Kohl had asked this question of Roberts:
KOHL: As you seek to become the head of the judicial branch, as you seek the position of chief justice of the United States of America, what role would you play in making right the wrongs revealed by Katrina?
A bit desperate to throw Katrina in there, but so be it. When Graham's turn came, he launched into this bit of questioning:
GRAHAM: Let's talk about righting wrongs here. I think it stinks that somebody can burn the flag and that's called speech.

What do you think about that?

ROBERTS: Well...


We had the Flag Protection Act after the Supreme Court concluded that it was protected speech.

GRAHAM: Show me where the term symbolic speech is in the Constitution.

ROBERTS: Well, it's not.

GRAHAM: It's not. They just made it up, didn't they? And I think it stinks that a kid that can't go to school and say a prayer if he wants to voluntarily.

What do you think about that?

ROBERTS: That's something that's probably inappropriate for me to comment on.

GRAHAM: What do you think Ronald Reagan thought about that?

ROBERTS: His view was that voluntary school prayer was appropriate.

GRAHAM: I think it's not right for elected officials to be unable to talk about or protect the unborn. What do you think about that?

ROBERTS: Well, again, Senator, these are issues that are likely to come before the court, and I can't comment on those particulars because...

GRAHAM: Why are judges more capable of protecting or talking about the unborn than elected officials?

ROBERTS: Well, again, those are issues that come before the court on a regular basis in particular cases. And on my current court or the future court, I need to be able to approach those cases with an open mind and not on the basis of statements I make during a confirmation hearing.

GRAHAM: The point is that righting wrongs is a very subjective thing. And you will be asked to decide the fate of people with individual needs and individual desires, based on particular fact patterns and legal briefs.

I'm confident you can do that and that you will do that. And I don't think you need to make a bargain with me to right all the wrongs that I see in life to sit on the Supreme Court.
When Graham started with the questions about flag-burning and school prayer, I wondered what on earth he was doing. But in the end, it was a very effective point.

Then there was this:
GRAHAM: [Ginsburg] said that there should be federal funding for abortion. 90 percent of our caucus is pro-life -- is that about right? Pretty close? I could assure you that, if a Republican was going to make their vote based on abortion thinking, she would have gotten no votes. Most Americans don't want federal funding of abortion, even though they're divided on the issue of a woman's right to choose.


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