Wednesday, July 20, 2005


At least it's not Priscilla Owen

I suppose "relief" is the word I would use to describe my feelings on President Bush's choice of John G. Roberts to replace Sandra Day O'Connor on the Supreme Court.

He's certainly not the man I would pick to defend our Constitution, but knowing Bush as we know him all too well, he could have picked a real whackjob extremist. I think we liberals were flat-out expecting that. Roberts is certainly conservative, and if appointed, I'm sure I will disagree with him frequently. At the same time, he seems to be a conservative like Rehnquist, and not a conservative like Scalia. In other words, the sum of his opinions puts him somewhere on the right, but he's not an activist pushing some ideological agenda.

Examining Roberts' record briefly today, I couldn't find too many instances of frightning rulings or tortured logic exercised to fit a preconceived end goal. On some of his decisions where he has fallen on the right, I would actually agree. I'm opposed to abortion. I think race-based affirmative action is unfair and should be based on one's economic background. I also think the forced busing of the '70s and '80s severely undermined public education and ripped apart our cities.

Still, a few bits and pieces from Roberts' past have trouble me. He is reported to be actively involved in the Washington Legal Foundation, a right-wing group that appears to be pro-big business to everyone else's detriment. Click here to see what they stand for:
As part of the Reagan-era Justice Department, Roberts supported a 1980 Supreme Court decision diluting the Voting Rights Act and claiming that it was OK to discriminate during elections as long as you didn't mean to. As acting Solicitor General under George H.W. Bush, he argued in court in favor of mining 4,500 public acres in which recreational activities were ongoing. As a private attorney, he successfully defended Toyota in a workplace injury claim, essentially arguing that carpal tunnel syndrome does not entitle a worker to workplace accomodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Roberts also filed an amicus brief in a case

Roberts' paper trail isn't anywhere near as frightening as what I know we would have seen with some of the others Bush was considering for the Supreme Court spot. Enough is there, however, to make me quickly realize that this guy probably wouldn't stand in agreement with some of the values I hold dear: stewardship of the environment, justice and a fair shake for average Americans. Besides, how sad is it that we have a president who stands so far off on the political spectrum from where average Americans stand that we're relieved that Bush nominated a garden variety right-winger and not an orthodox radical?

Also troubling is the thinness of his record. There doesn't seem to be much there to examine. Could we be confirming a stealth radical? That's certainly how Bush ran his own 2000 election campaign. On the other hand, he could be a sore disappointment to conservatives. Much to their consternation, they have a lengthy track record of nominating pragmatists in ideologues' clothing. Consider Earl Warren and O'Connor, for examples.

For now, Roberts seems to be about as good as we can expect. The old-line liberal organizations, the ones who send you mail with screaming warnings if you've ever donated as little as $1 to a leftist cause, are naturally outraged and vocal already in their opposition to this guy. I'm not exactly thrilled, myself. But who did they expect, Hillary Clinton?

More Numbers
That's the percentage of Americans who think the president is trustworthy, according to a poll by the Pew Research Center, down from 56 percent in April. By contrast, 46 percent of Americans find Bush to be a lying sack of you-know-what. OK, actually I believe the poll results merely used the expression "not trustworthy." The "lying sack of you-know-what" part represents my own biased opinion.

That's the portion of self-described Republicans who think Karl Rove should resign, according to the same poll. Thirty-nine percent said he should not. So much for Republicans standing up for values, huh? An additional 42 percent of Republicans couldn't turn off "Nanny 911" long enough to form a coherent opinion.

That's the portion of Americans who have a favorable opinion of daily newspapers, according to the Pew Center's polling. How can this be? According to the right-wing spin, America has given up trust in the mainstream media and has decided to use Sean Hannity as a primary news source. Also, 54 percent of Americans say these so-called liberal rags are too easy on Bush.

That's the percentage of those who believe the war in Iraq has actually made us less safe from terrorism, according to the most recent CNN/Gallup/USA Today poll. Forty percent of Americans believe that the war has kept us safe from the evil-doers.

The Mouth and his friends have been engaging in some lively debates lately, especially over God and politics. Click on "Comments" at the bottom of each day's posting to see what folks have to say. I hope you too will participate in our discussions. And don't forget to keep reading and to tell your friends about The Mouth. Before long, I'll be able to count readers on both my fingers and toes.

"The "lying sack of you-know-what" part represents my own biased opinion."

Hey Mouth,

I thought you weren't calling the President a liar?
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