13 August 2005

Mr Justice Roberts...

...is probably a foregone conclusion. As a militant defender of abortion rights and reproductive freedom, even I can't think of a good reason to keep Roberts off the Court. He appears to my untutored eyes to be qualified to serve on the Court. What we should all hope for is that Roberts will be fair and persuadable on the bench, and not be a rigid ideologue like Scalia.

Jeff Cooper's corner of the blogosphere has been pretty quiet lately, but today, at long last, he has a post about Roberts. With all the speculation circulating about Roberts, in which commentators consult long-lost childhood friends and ouija boards to predict Roberts' probable voting patterns, Cooper reminds us that who a person clerked for is not even remotely an arbiter of how they'll behave on the bench. Judge Roberts's admiration for Henry Friendly suggests that he is not a rigid, blinders-on, straight-down-the-line ideologue, and to that extent it's reassuring. But to suggest that it shows any more than that is to place more weight on the evidence than it will bear.

For those with concerns about how Roberts will vote on cases involving Roe, I think it is important to remember that the Supreme Court is only one battle ground on which the war for reproductive self-determination is fought. Rather than relying on a few members of the Court to hang on to Roe, activists should be working for a legislative solution. All national polls show that Americans, while disliking abortion, favor abortion remaining legal with certain restrictions. With that kind of support, we should be working to get legislation passed in addition to pursuing reproductive rights in the courts.


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