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We interrupt Theory Tuesday . . .

. . . to introduce you to John G. Roberts, the co-author of the Stalinist “gag rule” (Rust v. Sullivan, 1991) prohibiting all federally-funded American family planning programs from counseling clients about abortion or referring them to abortion services.  And according to the Alliance for Justice, which opposed Roberts’ nomination to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, the Washington Times hailed him and Miguel Estrada in June 2001 as “offer[ing] business the best opportunity in years to free itself from government regulations.”

Hat tip to Hunter at Kos for the Alliance for Justice pdf.

Posted by on 07/19 at 08:12 PM
  1. It seems that the Bush administration made a very serious mistake not nominating a minority.  Except for the Catholic thing one doesn’t get whiter bread than this guy.  This should be an interesting fight now.

    Posted by  on  07/19  at  09:27 PM
  2. Anthony, are you saying the GOP is the party of white guys?  That kind of hysterical and divisive rhetoric will not be tolerated on this blog.

    Posted by Michael  on  07/19  at  09:38 PM
  3. No, no, no.  I’m saying the GOP is the party of boring white guys.

    Posted by  on  07/19  at  10:13 PM
  4. 80 votes, probably. Very establishment and inside-the-beltway. Sorry to say, but who did you expect? Lani Guinier or something?

    Posted by norbizness  on  07/19  at  10:18 PM
  5. Jeez, that’s funny you should say that, norbizness.  I did expect Lani Guinier.  Or maybe the Spanish Inquisition—but nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!

    Posted by Michael  on  07/19  at  10:21 PM
  6. Wow.  Once again the Bush team does not what you are going to think that they do but something even worse. Instead of sort of stealth canidate, another woman, a minority, they go for their real deal, a conservative, anti-Roe White guy.  This is supposed to save Karl’s fat behind.

    Posted by  on  07/19  at  10:27 PM
  7. I don’t think that the Alliance for Justice broadsheet is a sensible reason to oppose Rogers.  Someone in the solicitor’s office (where Rogers was for some of the briefs AfJ mentions) is bound to support whatever position the administration holds.  The fact that Rogers wrote persuasive briefs is evidence of a keen mind, not his personal beliefs.  And he’s been on the D.C. Circuit Court for such a short time, it’s probably not wise to rely on his decisions there.

    Instead, it makes better sense to rely on other evidence.  From the NPR coverage of the announcement, I do get the sense that Rogers is a very conservative man.  That doesn’t automatically make him a man who would overturn Roe or take the position that the First Amendment does not apply to states (Thomas’s current position).  For that, we really do need to wait for hearings.

    I suspect that Rogers will be broadly supported in the Senate, and that the best outcome from hearings is not the defeat of Rogers but attempts to knock down the cherished judicial myths of conservatives about original intent, unenumerated rights, and a few other matters.  Rogers is smart but will be more interested in defending his nomination than in engaging in intellectual battle.

    Posted by Sherman  on  07/20  at  12:00 AM
  8. Roberts’ slams against the Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade were, in some cases, contained in briefs for cases that had very little to do with abortion. They indicate an ideological fixation.

    On my professional turf, it looks as though Roberts is solidly in the Gale Norton/James Watt mold. He argued for Poppy Bush’s administration in Lujan v. National Wildlife Federation, in which the NWF was attempting to challenge the BLM’s “withdrawal” of public lands to lease to mining companies. Roberts argued - and the Supreme Court eventually agreed - that despite the NWF having shown that its members regularly used the land in question for recreation, the group had no standing to sue the BLM.

    Standing is the fulcrum of almost all environmental law. Unless one person deliberately pours poison on another or logs privately owned trees without permission, any environmental litigation depends on enviros being granted standing to sue.

    (This has been the case ever since Sierra Club v. Morton, a groundbreaking case in which the Sierra Club was granted standing to sue the Forest Service over a Disney resort at Mineral King in the Sierra Nevada. The club argued that it had standing because it existed to defend the Sierra Nevada. Judges - for the first time in US history, if I remember right - agreed.)

    Roberts’ work significantly eroded this pivotal part of environmental caselaw. I understand the point about advancing a client’s argument being different from issuing an opinon on the bench. But nothing in Roberts’ dossier contradicts his image as a Wise Use honey.

    This is a scary man in many respects.

    Posted by Chris Clarke  on  07/20  at  12:20 AM
  9. I obviously mistook John Roberts, the ideologue, with John Rogers, a gentle soul who feeds deer on his back porch.  Either that, or I misspelled.

    Posted by Sherman  on  07/20  at  12:23 AM
  10. A clever move, as he will likely be confirmed.  A very intelligent man too—zoomed through Harvard Law in 3 years. How unlike Bush to put intelligence first!

    Posted by Jonathan Vos Post  on  07/20  at  01:03 AM
  11. Except for the Catholic thing one doesn’t get whiter bread than this guy.

    Prepare for any Democratic opposition to be met by the GOP with cries of anti-Catholicism.

    Posted by  on  07/20  at  01:23 AM
  12. oh, he is just a floater.

    (yes i do understand the many meanings of that word.)

    when i saw the very white, very male look of his stuffy, yet not puffy, red cheeks, i began to think of him this way.

    it was after the polls (not poles) came out & every one said, “nominate another woman,” & The People (or at the very least, the people) thought he was going to nominate another token, yet he went & nominated another self-clone.

    i do not think mr. roberts, as opposed to (if anyone remembers, dr. roberts) there, will pass the muster. then we will get a really rather ornery token (didnt janice rogers brown come up earlier, from beneath the floater)??

    thats my guess.

    i have more to say about Theory Tuesday, but it has been too hot here to say anything, much less try to parse Theory Tuesday, although i believe i -have- parsed it. the thing is, it has already been -deconstructed- & by people w/ brains perhaps more in tune w/ symbolic logic than mine, while less in tune w/ integrity & so i should write a long post, & while the parrot, which does indeed exist (definitely not a figment of my imagination, although i wish it were) still yowls, it is still 90 degrees in here & i cannot think well enough to explain beyond parsing-- tomorrow morning before the sun sinks as low as settling upon the roof of my apartment i shall try & explain something in language nobody but myself (& joyce, james) will understand.

    Posted by  on  07/20  at  02:24 AM
  13. That’s okay, Sherman. For a few moments, I thought Bush said Bob Roberts.

    Posted by Roxanne  on  07/20  at  09:42 AM
  14. Also, I should add that I had a dream last night that I was trapped in Westworld.

    Posted by Roxanne  on  07/20  at  09:45 AM
  15. Yeah, Rox, but I’m confident nothing went wrongggg.

    I erred in my comment above. The Supreme Court actually sent the Sierra Club back to the drawing board to rewrite their standing claim, because just “advocating for the Sierra Nevada” was too broad. What the Supremes did accept was a claim that Sierra Clubbers routinely used Mineral King for recreation - an argument substantially similar to the one Roberts derided in Lujan.

    Posted by Chris Clarke  on  07/20  at  11:51 AM
  16. Michael:

    I know you promised a follow-up to Russian formalism, but can you make the next Theory Tuesday about rhetorical hermeneutics (I’m thinking here of Mailloux-cum-Rorty) and the politics of intepretation?  Or some other way into the same subject?

    That way we might engage in a fruitful discussion that is explicitly about both theory and judicial politics by trying to get to the bottom of the “legislation from the bench” rhetoric that the right seems to have invented but that the dems now use--with equal insidiousness, I might add.  The implication seems to be that there are such things as “right readings” and “transparent texts” in the absolute sense, and that this thing politicians are calling “legislating from the bench” is mere sophistry--that is, a willful and bad-faith attempt to twist the obviousness of a document’s meaning for cynical purposes.  Is there a way to tell genuine, thoughtful, but divergent readings of say, the Constitution, from readings designed to line the pockets of cronies and fat-cats? 

    If not this Tuesday, then soon?

    Posted by  on  07/20  at  01:07 PM
  17. I second Lance’s request. I’m trying to sort out the intentionalist/textualist debate, the constructionist/orginalist/other debate, and also just how those various juridical buzzwords might be applied to real civil rights and liberties questions of abortion rights, gay marriage, affirmative action, hate crimes, and torture. (In short, where do you stand on Stanley Fish?)

    As Tyler has pointed out, there is no (principled) reason why a “strict constructionist” should be opposed to civil rights for gay people.

    I know it’s foolish to hope for things to get decided on questions of principle, but I figure since the future of the country is at stake, we (mostly) powerless bloggers at least might take it seriously. Another thought: isn’t it surprising how much debates in literary theory about authors, texts, intentions, and meanings overlap with debates in constitutional law?

    Posted by Amardeep  on  07/20  at  01:50 PM
  18. wait, but i thought john roberts was, in fact, a member of the spanish inquisition…

    i’ve been pointed to this Inside Higher Ed article as a potential hiccup in bat-shit insane right-wingnut rhetoric, at least as far as universities are concerned.  but who knows?  more than likely he’ll be a bat-shit insane right-wingnut justice despite (or perhaps because of?) representing Gonzaga.

    i told my students today that i predicted a quick confirmation, though some of them were expecting a knock-down drag-out - i told them that this wasn’t clarence thomas, at least not as far as initial appearances go, and then immediately regretted the statement, since i had to spend a good 20 minutes explaining to the youth of america exactly who thomas and anita hill actually are.  weird, since i got three papers this time around that referenced Tinker v. Des Moines Independent.

    and though bob roberts would be an interesting justice candidate, i’d prefer to see him run against santorum.

    Posted by  on  07/20  at  02:32 PM
  19. I understand that a lawyer with a keen mind may frequently represent clients whose interests are far removed from the lawyer’s own, but honestly, what sort of keen mind co-authors a government brief which, according to the Alliance for Justice, asserts “that, at worst, Operation Rescue was discriminating against pregnant people, not women”?

    Posted by  on  07/20  at  02:43 PM
  20. Most law school grads get through law school in 3 yrs, so that’s not necessarily any great shakes. As for doing it at Harvard, that used to mean something until the caliber of their MBA graduates was discovered.  wink

    Posted by  on  07/20  at  03:10 PM
  21. jeff:

    Of course, I don’t believe that an MBA is a “real” academic degree.  I’ve written 2 MBA dissertations for Fortune 100 executives, for cash, both of whom thus received “MBA With Honors” from a very well-known school.  My wife, with her Ph.D. in Physics, and other real degrees, feels the same way.  But, ad hominem attacks on the ghost of John Harvard (Harvard being where my Dad graduated Cum Laude in English Literature) do not detract from the cliam that John Roberts is very smart.  This is a mixed bag, of course.  But, if you’ve got to have a Conservative on the Supremes, the question is “what does he MEAN by Conservative?” and “is he intelligent enough to make a difference in Jurisprudence as such?”

    Posted by Jonathan Vos Post  on  07/20  at  03:30 PM
  22. I suspect Dispatches from the Culture Wars will have pretty solid discussions of the confirmation process over the next few months, for those interested in relevant blogs.

    Posted by Sherman  on  07/20  at  04:46 PM
  23. The three years thing is that he graduated from Harvard College in 3 years.  That just means that he took a lot of AP classes in high school, and he knew what he wanted to concentrate in the instant he arrived on campus.  If you accept advanced standing, they let you out of 2 Core courses (distribution requiremements), The standard load is 8.  So Roberts skipped the electives, but that’s it.

    Posted by  on  07/20  at  04:49 PM
  24. “offer[ing] business the best opportunity in years to free itself from government regulations.”

    Yeah, can’t have those pesky government regulations protecting people and stuff.

    Aw hell, the government is doing a crappy job. Let’s just disband it entirely and live the way Ayn Rand wanted us to!

    I can’t stand it when our government plays the anti-government card.

    Posted by  on  07/20  at  05:18 PM
  25. I like ducks.

    Posted by  on  07/23  at  08:08 PM
  26. This is truly a great read for me!! I love the quality information and news your site provides smile I have you bookmarked to show this to my brother!

    Posted by MBA Colleges  on  11/23  at  12:59 PM
  27. MBA degree or not does not matter. Only what you have in your head is important. It depends on person what knowledge to get from education and how to apply them.

    Posted by MBA Lady  on  12/18  at  11:42 AM
  28. this topic is not too much important..

    Posted by iiebm pune  on  01/17  at  07:25 AM
  29. 23.The three years thing is that he graduated from Harvard College in 3 years.Symptoms of Shingles dg Treatment for Shingles
    That just means that he took a lot of AP classes in high school, and he knew what he wanted to concentrate in the instant he arrived on campus.  If you accept advanced standing, they let you out of 2 Core courses (distribution requiremements), The standard load is 8.  So Roberts skipped the electives, but that’s it.

    Posted by  on  02/07  at  10:43 PM





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