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  1. #121  
    Roberts: I'll Respect Legal Precedents
    Wednesday, August 03, 2005

    WASHINGTON John Roberts (search) says he will honor established Supreme Court rulings, telling a Senate committee that legal precedents are important to "promoting the stability of the legal system."

    Liberal interest groups quickly criticized the high court nominee for failing to state whether he would uphold the landmark Roe v. Wade (search) abortion decision.

    In responses to a Senate Judiciary Committee (search) questionnaire, the 50-year-old federal appeals court judge addressed a wide array of questions, from his financial holdings and work history to political ties and judicial philosophy. In particular, the survey offered Roberts' most current views on "judicial activism," an area critical to gauging his stance on the 1973 Roe decision.

    "It is difficult to comment on either 'judicial activism' or 'judicial restraint' in the abstract, without reference to the particular facts and applicable law of a specific case," Roberts writes in the 84-page disclosure, which the committee released late Tuesday.

    "Precedent plays an important role in promoting the stability of the legal system," he added. "A sound judicial philosophy should reflect recognition of the fact that the judge operates within a system of rules developed over the years by other judges equally striving to live up to the judicial oath."

    At the same time, Roberts said that "judges must be constantly aware that their role, while important, is limited."

    "They do not have a commission to solve society's problems, as they see them, but simply to decide cases before them according to the rule of law," he wrote to the committee, which will begin considering Roberts' nomination on Sept. 6.................

    FULL STORY:,2933,164561,00.html
  2. #122  
    Roberts Answers Judiciary Panel Questionnaire
    Tuesday, August 02, 2005


  3. #123  

    A religious test? Let's not
    8/2/2005 8:39 PM

    The Senate's coming confirmation hearings on the nomination of John Roberts to the Supreme Court poses a delicate and risky question for both the nominee and his likely Democratic opponents: Are Roberts' religious beliefs fair game for questioning?
    This touchy matter is almost certainly on the minds of the nominee and his Democratic interrogators on the Senate Judiciary Committee, which in a few weeks will hold the inquiry on President Bush's first Supreme Court appointment. It looms because of three facts:

    Abortion is the overriding issue that makes picking and confirming a Supreme Court justice so contentious;

    Democrats on the Judiciary Committee have promised to probe Roberts' personal views on abortion and the court's 1973 Roe v. Wade decision upholding abortion rights; and

    Roberts is a faithful Roman Catholic, whose church condemns abortion as morally wrong.

    And therein lies a slippery slope, on which some liberal Democratic senators have already ventured, which leads toward an unconstitutional and un-American religious test for high judicial office.


    Watch Sen. Charles Schumer of New York on this question. Certain to be one of Roberts' chief inquisitors, Schumer has cited "deeply held views" by a Catholic appeals court nominee as disqualifying in the past. Senate Democrats successfully filibustered President Bush's nomination of Alabama's attorney general, William Pryor, a devout Catholic, in 2003 after Schumer made an issue of Pryor's religious beliefs during his confirmation hearing.

    "His beliefs are so well known, so deeply held," the New York senator said, "that it's very hard to believe that they're not going to deeply influence" his judicial decisions. But Schumer is not concerned about all deeply held beliefs certainly he would not object to a nominee who deeply believed that a fetus is not a person and a woman has an absolute right to abort it.

    Other Judiciary Committee Democrats, including Sens. Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts and Patrick Leahy of Vermont, want to press Roberts on his views on abortion. But probing those views which may well be faith-based would not only be inappropriate, but also awkward for them, as both senators are Catholics, too. Do Kennedy and Leahy wish to be seen as erecting a "No Catholics Need Apply" sign to the Supreme Court's doorway? (Or, more precisely, "No Practicing Catholics Need Apply.")

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