Reidblog [The Reid Report blog]

Think at your own risk.
Wednesday, January 18, 2006
Roberts watch
It remains to be seen whether I was completely suckered by John Roberts' charm and intelligence during his confirmation hearings. But there are interesting signs:
  • Roberts' dissent in the Oregon assisted suicide case -- a case in which Roberts did not write an opinion but in which fellow dissenter Antonin Scalia asserted the Court's right to defend "public morality..." whatever that has to do with federal vs. state power... (more from Talkleft including the right's push to get the wingers in Congress to pass a John Ashcroft, MD law in response to the Oregon rout.) Recall that during his hearings, Roberts demurred on the "right to die" issue, which Jeralyn Merritt points out really wasn't the central issue in the Supco case -- it was more about the right of states to make their own laws regulating physicians.) More on Roberts and the Oregon case here.
  • The Roberts Court's refusal to hear a case by NYC firefighters and other rescue workers who claim they were given faulty radios on 9/11...
  • The Court's refusal to hear a case brought by a man who was arrested for protesting a visit by President Bush in an area designated by Secret Service agents as off-limits...
  • And a case brought by a reputed mob associate accused of looting a printing company's pension fund, in which his lawyers argue that prosecutors withheld evidence found during a Miami raid...
These may at first blush seem like bad omens, but read the rest of the stories and judge for yourself. In each case, as a non-lawyer, the cases don't look that strong. The 9/11 families agreed to take the federal settlement, and it's arguable that indeed opted them out of later lawsuits. The protester was in fact in an area roped off by Secret Service, and -- like it or not -- that's they way it works at events with elected officials (what's more troubling is that after his arrest, the protester's, movements, phones and emails were probably tracked by the FBI and Pentagon...) And the mobster isn't exactly a model case for prosecutorial misconduct.

And then there's the murkier -- and unanimous -- ruling today essentially dodging the first abortion case to pass Roberts' desk. More on that ruling from TalkLeft, and ScotusBlog has more on why the ruling -- while on its face a win for pro-choicers, might wind up effectively limiting abortion rights...

So I guess I'll withhold judgment for now. What's really troubling is the likely addition of Sam Alito to the Sca-Thomas voting block.

Tags: , , Politics, SCOTUS, Law, News
posted by JReid @ 12:40 PM  
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"I am for enhanced interrogation. I don't believe waterboarding is torture... I'll do it. I'll do it for charity." -- Sean Hannity
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