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View Diary: SCOTUS: Roberts Helped Pro-Gay Rights Coalition in Key Case (167 comments)

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  •  There's no doubt (none)
    that Roberts could have declined to work on this case if he wanted to. Some comments in the SusanHu thread suggested that any partner would have helped his partner out on a case like this, but I do not agree (and I've worked in big law firms). This kind of case in particular implicates big issues of conscience, and no one at Hogan & Hartson is going to force a case like this down anyone's throat - especially down the throat of someone as high up the food chain as Roberts was. He could have refused to help. He didn't. In contrast, I have no doubt that then-Professor Scalia would have refused to participate in this case or any like it. More here.
    •  speak for yourself - i have doubt (none)
      Then a lawyer specializing in appellate work, the conservative Roberts helped represent the gay activists as part of his law firm's pro bono work. While he did not write the legal briefs or argue the case before the Supreme Court, he was instrumental in reviewing the filings and preparing oral arguments, according to several lawyers involved in the cas

      I have not worked for any law firm, nor can i say i know anything about how things work therein, but this doesn't appear to me to be any big deal. It seems to me that he was simply helping out a more-junior attorney(s). And that this is now getting blown way out of proportion.

      Just being the Devil's advocate, so to speak. I'd like to know what others here (who do have legal experience) think of this possibility. This just doesn't smell like much to me. And in any case, our carping about it would only get the fundies shouting that we're indignant even when they go out of their way to help gays.

      "What they found is a silver bullet in the form of a person."

      by subtropolis on Thu Aug 04, 2005 at 09:06:47 AM PDT

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      •  it goes to how doctrinaire (or not) he is n/t (none)

        Infidelity does not consist in believing, or in disbelieving: it consists in professing to believe what he does not believe.--Thomas Paine

        by peterborocanuck on Thu Aug 04, 2005 at 09:16:32 AM PDT

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      •  His participation is significant, (none)
        at least to me, because among other things it meant that he had to take time away from other matters. Particularly because this case was pro bono, his working on this case cost his firm (and him, by extension, because he was a partner) money. The value of the hours that he put into that case was no doubt several thousand dollars. Also, as I said before, I just don't think that any lawyer with a fundamental, conscience-based objection to what the plaintiffs were trying to do in Romer would have worked on the case. It was a big deal to overturn the "will of the people" (which is what Romer was about) on constitutional grounds, and if you deeply believed that it was wrong to do that, wouldn't you decline to help? I would.
      •  Missing the point? (none)
        I'm wondering if we're not missing the point here.

        In the end, regardless of how Roberts dealt with a specific case (which is but minutiae in the realms of jurisprudence), he is free to make whatever decision he chooses. Morevoer, Scalia and Thomas will give him ample cover to sound as a voice of reason while still voting against civilr rights, etc., from the conservative wing of the court.

        Before we go seeing the trees for the forest and examine a single case too closely, we need to look at the entire body of work and how it has evolved over the years. This guy is young in bench terms and will be around for a while.

        You many now return to your regularly scheduled chaos.

        by becca00 on Thu Aug 04, 2005 at 09:54:35 AM PDT

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      •  The Point Is... (none) idealogue would have quit the firm rather than be forced to work on this case.  It's almost win/win - he either worked on the case because he believed in it or he worked on the case because he was not so doctrinaire as to decline to work on it.  


        •  The fact (none)
          that he was a partner (and, presumably given his prominence, one of the most important partners) at a firm that chose to take a case like that pro bono is an indication that he is not a down-the-line ideological extremist. It doesn't mean that he won't still make decisions on a regular basis that people here will dislike (and thus doesn't mean he should not be opposed), but I think it's supporting evidence for Roberts being in the ideological middle of the admitedly narrow range of potential Bush nominees.
        •  OR (in a certain twisted way) (none)
          he worked on the case to provide him with a 'well rounded' case list on which he provided work.  He seems like a man who has been grooming his legal profile for quite some time.  Working in the background on a case that provides some cover for his right wing agenda might make sense.

          But that is my over active brain assuming the worst for these republicans.

      •  Consultation with other attorneys is common (none)
        It's not at all uncommon to consult with another, more senior or more specifically experienced litigator at the same firm, especially on a big case (and any case that gets as far as the SCOTUS is a big case by definition). Roberts was experienced arguing cases before the Supreme Court, and was a senior partner; asking him for his input would have been quite normal. It just happened to be a pro-bono case, and on the issue of gay rights.  

        Roberts could have said no, but (as I've posted elsewhere), unless he was a rabid homophobe or a total asshole (in which case the other attorneys on the case would have gone to someone else), there was no reason for him to do so. And to be fair, his professional reputation is that he's a reasonable guy, so if asked for his advice on any relevant legal matter of interest to the firm, he'd probably be more than willing to give it.

        This was professional courtesy, not a statement of support for any issues the case represented. It wasn't even his case, so I can see how he might not have considered it worth reporting. He probably consulted on a number of cases, pro-bono and otherwise.

        Of course, if the right-wingers go frothing at the mouth over this, that's their perogative. I wouldn't read anything more into this other than Roberts doing his job at that time.  

        "Everyone is entitled to an opinion... What most people fail to realise is that they are not entitled to have that opinion taken seriously." --Adam Tinworth

        by JanetT in MD on Thu Aug 04, 2005 at 07:52:30 PM PDT

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