The Roberts Charade

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.


I managed to listen to a half-hour of the Roberts’ hearings this morning before shutting it off. What’s the point? The man will quite obviously vote to overturn both Roe and Casey—anyone believing otherwise, or failing to catch the significance of his comparing Roe to the Court’s pro-segregation decision, Plessy v. Ferguson, is engaging in wishful thinking here. As Bruce Ackerman pointed out way back in February, Antonin Scalia also told the court: “I assure you I have no agenda. My only agenda is to be a good judge.” Blah blah.

So I’m not quite sure what the whole point of dancing around this issue is, with Arlen Specter trying to find ever more clever ways to get Roberts to signal his views on Roe and Roberts finding ever more clever ways to avoid it. Are we all really supposed to pretend to be fooled here? Meanwhile, I don’t quite see why Roberts even bothers with this dance: why not just say, “Yes, I pretty much think Roe is settled law?” and then overturn it (or narrow it considerably) when he gets a seat on the Supreme Court? It’s not like anyone will impeach him for misleading people at the confirmation hearings. At any rate, William Stuntz had the right idea last week when he argued that hearings for Supreme Court nomination should just be abolished. They won’t, of course—Senators need someplace to grandstand—but going through a process defined by how telegenic the nominee looks and how well he or she can avoid giving any useful information whatsoever seems pretty pointless. The only information gleaned from these hearings is that Roberts is articulate, and seems to be an even-tempered guy, two qualities which are totally irrelevant to working as a Supreme Court Justice.

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate