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Steve M writes this comment in acbonin's now-promoted diary:

After seeing so many comments in the last 12 hours along the lines of "Roberts is the worst nominee imaginable," my mind has sort of become numb.

Look, folks, when people say "elections have consequences" that is not the same thing as saying the Democrats must roll over and accept every outrageous action until 2008. We didn't accept the destruction of Social Security. We didn't accept John Bolton.  There are plenty of fights we can win.

But there are good losses too, and this is the concept that many refuse to accept. You can lose in a way that makes people sympathize with the principle you fought for. You can lose in a way that sets the stage to make a compelling case later.  If you send a clear message to the American people that "we oppose Roberts because X will happen if he is confirmed," and then X does happen, now you have your campaign issue for 2008, 2012, and beyond. "Elect Democrats so we can roll back X and make sure it never happens again."

Right now, we haven't agreed on what X is. It might be Roe v. Wade, it might be destruction of environmental laws and other protections, it might be a lot of things. I will guarantee you this: if the Dems don't settle on a unified message, if it ends up being the same old shotgun approach that "Roberts will outlaw abortion, birth control, favor corporations over people, destroy the environment, reverse the civil rights movement, etc." it's not going to get us anywhere. We need a straightforward argument that people can understand, and we can use in future elections, not a boundless rant that says Roberts is the spawn of Satan who will destroy everything good about America. Fortunately, we have over a month before the confirmation hearings, time we can use to get the message straight.

I don't get why people don't understand that there can be a "good" loss, or at least a productive loss. How have the Republicans gotten into power? By campaigning against every liberal accomplishment of the last century. They are not afraid to take our victories and turn them into campaign points, and it wins them elections. We need to do the same, unless we believe the Republicans never pass a bad law.

Imagine yourself as a wingnut for a second. What would you think about Roe v. Wade? You'd probably consider it the biggest disaster ever. Oh no, the Supreme Court ruled that there's a constitutional right to murder unborn babies! But rather than saying "that's it, we lose, end of the world" the Republicans built an electoral strategy around it. It wasn't easy, because their position is the minority, but they used it as a rallying cry for their base, they employed a legislative strategy that involves poking around the edges and creating wedge issues, and they gained political ground because of it.

We should be upset any time one of our precious freedoms is lost, or any time one of our hardwon liberal gains is rolled back, but remember, we are not just a bunch of helpless victims, we are the activists here. We can be smart about it and use those defeats to craft a winning strategy for the future, rather than living day by day counting up losses and wins depending on how today's voting went. We are supposed to be the ones driving the Democratic Party towards a winning, progressive agenda; so let's get to work.

I see in Roberts someone who can help Democrats draw clear battle lines for the American public. It'll allow us to define who we are and who they are, and drive home the point that elections do matter, that there really is a difference between the Democratic and Republican parties. This is a huge opportunity, and one I'm confident Democrats in the Senate are taking seriously.

Hearings start in September, so we have the time get our stuff together. Bush could've chosen a moderate in the O'Connor mold, and he could've kept the pretension that the GOP isn't extreme, isn't out to eliminate hard-won rights. He chose otherwise. Let's look at this as an opportunity. Because the only way to stop this sort of thing, in the end, is to win back Congress and the White House.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Wed Jul 20, 2005 at 09:11 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Good thought.... (none)
    right direction....
    •  The thing I don't like about Roberts (none)
      is that he is too young, too inexperienced. The guy's 50 years old, which basically means he could be on the court for the next 35 years. That's fine if he's a Souter, but this guy looks a lot more like a potential Rehnquist to me.
      •  Putting inexperience on the Court (none)
        should be stressed I think.  

        First, it's true.  Two years in a job qualifies you to become the highest authority?  Come on, that's just ridiculous, let alone for the Supreme Court.  And I don't care what the precedents are, or what Democrats have done, the idea on the face of it is just silly.

        Second, this is something that should resonate with ordinary people.  How many of them become the highest authority on anything with two years on the job?  These days you just might luck out and get a slight raise.  It's an easy theme to remember, too, cuts all all the back and forth and explanations that run on and on and people just snooze...

        Third, he's mockable.  Jay Leno:  "Well, it'd be great to make jokes about him, but since he hasn't _done_anything yet, well...what can I say?"

        "Fear is an -ism...did you notice the transition from Communism into Islamic terrorism?" Lee Raback, Warsaw Pack "Doomsday Device", written pre-9/11

        by lizah on Wed Jul 20, 2005 at 09:36:23 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'm hardly a Roberts apologist (none)
          but if the line is "Roberts is too inexperienced", then count me out. As many other posters have noted, Roberts has argued many cases (approx. 35, I believe) in front of the Supreme Court and used to be deputy Solicitor General. Besides, why does a Supreme Court Justice need to have prior bench experience anyways? Earl Warren and many others did not.

          If you want to attack Roberts, start researching his opinions, his law review articles, and any other relevant materials. But to say that he's inexperienced is simply an incorrect and frankly laugh-inducing argument. Let's stick to arguments that make sense and have a chance of outlining differences between right-wing legal jurisprudence and what the general public deems acceptable.

          The GOP: tough on crime - unless it's Republicans who are the criminals.

          by Hoyapaul on Wed Jul 20, 2005 at 09:56:10 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  different position (none)
            "but if the line is "Roberts is too inexperienced", then count me out. As many other posters have noted, Roberts has argued many cases (approx. 35, I believe) in front of the Supreme Court and used to be deputy Solicitor General."

            Okay, we've established he can play quarterback; but that doesn't translate into he will be a good ref.  Being a one-sided, partisan gunslinger in 35 cases doesn't mean he is automatically good at impartial, weigh-both-sides mediation - especially after only 2 years in the latter role; call me crazy, but I'd  prefer that the guy being put in a position to overrule virtually ever other judge in the country have been on the job long enough to validate his retirement plan before being leapfrogged over everybody's head.

            "Besides, why does a Supreme Court Justice need to have prior bench experience anyways? Earl Warren and many others did not."

            I prefer to not bet on the exception, but on the rule.  Alexander the Great may have had the wherewithall to conquer a decent chunk of Asia by 30, but that doesn't mean I endorse turning over command of the US Army to Jenna/NotJenna simply because Alexander had his shit together.

            •  Agreed (none)
              that Roberts' prior experience does not automatically mean that he's good at "impartial, weigh-both-sides mediation", but I think the fact that he's been a judge for only a short time is irrelvant to that. There's plenty of judges who don't have that down. There are plenty of non-judges who do.

              But you are correct -- a good question to ask him is whether he is capable of impartial mediation. But that is a lot different than the unconvincing claim that Roberts is "inexperienced".

              The GOP: tough on crime - unless it's Republicans who are the criminals.

              by Hoyapaul on Wed Jul 20, 2005 at 10:35:42 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Military Service Record? (none)
                What's his draft record?

                High number? Indiana Dad Pal deferment?

                Find his Harvard pals. Knowing him then will tell us alot about now. Inexperience is not pertinent. 39 brilliant appearances before the Court. Clerked for the Chief. 50 is young. But he's done much.

                But how could he have formed early right wing bias? Something odd happened.

                 He was at Harvard from '73-'76. He absolutely inhaled. It would have been nigh onto impossible for him to be well-liked and knee-jerk conservative. And clearly he's the likeable type.

                Can't find service mention anywhere except an obscure reference to his not liking Vietnam protests. You know Bush would have mentioned military service if Roberts had it. (Especially with that name, Mister)

                 Absent huge revelation, the party line has to be: Give him the hardest time, but focus on Rovian Treason.

                As Barry Goldwater advised: "Go hunting where the ducks are."

          •  perhaps I wasn't clear (none)
            I must be on a roll today.  Earlier I explained Roberts' qualifications and the SC nomination process to a group of German lawyers.  Trust me, that was laugh enducing.

            I wasn't just attacking Roberts' qualifications, I was indeed attacking the premise that being a lawyer is qualification enough to be a judge.  Yes, against the grain in the U.S. but I'm hardly alone in this. Many democracies separate the training for the two professions, and have strict oversight practices from professionals to avoid political ties. Not how we do it in the U.S., yeah, I know.  Roberts' career is brilliant, yeah, I know.  What I want to know is that he can be a  fair judge.  But what does that even mean anymore?  It's a political answer.  

            I have nothing but respect for a legal education and I understand that Roberts' career has been distinguished.  Knowing the law is only one aspect  of administering justice, which is also why many educational systems divide the professions.  

            A lawyer advocates.  A lawyer wants to win, or at the very least minimize damage to the client.  Of course, that's the basic function.  From wikipedia, which I imagine captures the typical career path for lawyers at this level:

            In litigation, lawyers spend a lot of time discovering the facts of the case, in order to develop a "theory of the case" that integrates facts and law in a way most favorable to their client. Sadly, too often the discovery phase of a case turns into an unpleasant war of attrition over petty technicalities. Most lawyers would agree that approximately 50 to 70% of all funds spent on legal services in the U.S. go towards discovery costs.

            And after years of specialization, developing skills of advocacy and the win-at-all-costs mentality, what's the next step?  Well, political connections or popularity translate into a judgeship.

            Once they have reached any (or all) of those objectives, they may turn to building up their connections with a political party and hope that the President nominates them to a federal judgeship or a senior position in his administration.

            Advocating on behalf of a client requires many other skills, not all of them happily in congruence with justice.  Impartiality isn't exactly practised in those years of burning advocacy and being committed to winning.  And trading on your connections for the next step in your career means thay think you're the guy to do what the want you to do. Sorry, but I don't want to just simply have faith that someone remembers their law school lectures.  I'd rather have 20 years of their decisions, with job appraisals and peer reviews from other professionals.

            I know that's not how it works now.  I know it is not even likely to change.  But I think it is an important issue, and even more important given the number of upcoming nominations.  The people making decisions on the most divisive issues in our nation are appointed through this blatant political process.  

            So why our pretense that it is not political?  Of course it is, and of course he is being nominated because he is expected to advance their goals. Any decision he has made until now is invalid because once on the SC he can do whatever.  If we all agree this is a politically skillful move because there is not enough to condemn him with, why hasn't he therefore failed to render enough to adequately judge his qualifications?

            But more important to my first post was what people on the street would understand, not all the lawyers.  We have to frame this nomination politically, no matter how hard we fight it or if we let it slip by.  Long descriptions and analyses on decisions and articles is interesting to some, but hasn't been known to really be effective in changing the public's mind or mood on an issue.

            I am sick of pretending that how we've always done things means it's ok.    

            "Fear is an -ism...did you notice the transition from Communism into Islamic terrorism?" Lee Raback, Warsaw Pack "Doomsday Device", written pre-9/11

            by lizah on Wed Jul 20, 2005 at 02:52:34 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Inexperienced (none)
          I question the president's judgement that he is willing to entrust the Supreme Court to someone with almost no experience.

          Roberts was carefully vetted to insure that he is in the mold of Thomas and Scalia, and that he doesn't have the paper trail to show his extremism. The odds of there being something in the record that will block him is slight.

          If he ever failed to pay taxes for his domestic help, if he ever had any minor indiscretion in his life -- then rat fuck the bastard. Otherwise, Quayle him and keep pushing the meme that he's not ready for the responsibility.

          76% of dKos readers think I'm a secret wing-nut operative!

          by Gustavo on Wed Jul 20, 2005 at 11:32:08 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  if Dems confirm Roberts, court moves way right (none)
      Legal analysts on PBS last night were unanimously in agreement that Roberts is clearly more conservative than O'Connor.

      Roberts is at least as conservative as Rehnquist, and (without a paper trail) could very easily end up being a Thomas or Scalia. Democrats in the Senate, and on DailyKos, should be very much aware of this fact.

      Dems fought for the filibuster for a reason -- for the very situation the Senate is now in with Roberts. Democratic Senators would abdicate progressive principles for a generation if they do not use the filubuster now in a circumstance when Bush is CLEARLY trying to move the court as far to the right as the Senate will let him.

      -----------

      The New York Times lead article today makes it abundantly clear that Bush is stealthily but clearly attempting to move the court as far rightward as is possible:

      http://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/20/politics/politicsspecial1/20bush.html?oref=login&pagewanted=pr int

      Mr. Bush, and his chief political lieutenant Karl Rove, have made clear that they viewed the Bush presidency as an opportunity to build a lasting conservative legacy that would produce fundamental changes in the government, and what Republicans describe as a long-lasting political realignment. The retirement of Justice O'Connor, a swing vote on the court, presented him with a clear opportunity to do that.

      After the difficult spring Mr. Bush has had in Congress on issues like Social Security, the nomination of Judge Roberts may be an easier route to this end than some of Mr. Bush's legislative initiatives.

      Mr. Bush is also someone who relishes confrontation and political combat, perhaps never more than when he finds himself under attack, as he certainly has during these rough three months in Washington. In this case, though, Mr. Bush may have found a way to accomplish one of the overarching goals of this presidency -moving the court to the right - without a reprise of the kind of polarizing battles that have sometimes marked the Bush presidency.

      The front-page Washington Post analysis of the pick says the exact same thing:

      http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/07/19/AR2005071901946.html?sub=AR

      President Bush moved boldly to shift the Supreme Court to the right last night by selecting federal appellate judge John G. Roberts Jr. to succeed Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.

      By picking Roberts, Bush displayed his determination to put a more conservative stamp on the court.

  •  Give them no fillabuster and Roberts, if we get (none)
    some amendments.

    If we want to try to get some guarantees of civil rights in exchange for not fillabustering Roberts. Introduce two (or maybe three) constitutional amendments. (The six month part is arbitrary. If you don't like it, you fill in the blank.) They could read like this:

    Amendment XXVIII:
    Congress shall make no law infringing the ability of a victim of incest to terminate an unwanted pregnancy within the first six months.

    Amendment XXIX:
    Congress shall make no law infringing the ability of a victim of rape to terminate an unwanted pregnancy within the first six months.

    Amendment XXX:
    Congress shall make no law infringing the ability of a victim of unlawful intercourse to terminate an unwanted pregnancy within the first six months.

    Push 'em and pass 'em in that order. Let the Republicans defend incest and rape, as they push the police state nominee and defend treason in cases where they do it.

    •  Quit with this, please! (4.00)
      I know you think it is the best idea since sliced bread and have accordingly copied and pasted this comment in all manner of threads, but please stop.  It just isn't a sound strategy.

      First, you are off your medication if you think Republicans who control the Senate, the House, the Executive Branch will allow these amendments.  They aren't going to bargain with us.  Forget about offering them up deals that they will not take.

      Second, if we offer these amendments to the media... the media will rightly ignore them.   Why?  Because they have no chance of passing.  See above.

      Third, if you want to focus on the harm Roberts will do to abortion rights then do so, but there are other ways besides introducing gimmicky amendments that do not have a chance in hell of passing or gaining any significant media market share.

      "... the Republicans have fucked reality so hard they need a physics professor to straighten them out." -- hamletta

      by manyoso on Wed Jul 20, 2005 at 09:21:36 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  OK. Someone finally said something (none)
        Enough is enough. You're right. I'm done. You've shut down my constitutional convention. Great patriots we are, you and me.

        So you're right about the posting everywhere and I do think it is a good idea, and you're wrong. Yes, our side is way too weak to get this out of congress and through two thirds of the states if most people don't want it. Do you think most people do not want this?

        Do you really think anything less than a constitutional amendment will work here? Shall we be damned to a lifetime of targets on our backs just because we really do own ourselves? Do you really think anything short of this will ever settle anything? Aren't we really slaves, albeit in an abstract sense, if we accept anything less and don't even consider asking?

        But their side is not so touchy about "tampering" with the constitution. You'll never have a country that has privacy until it says that it does.

        BTW Sheeple: What is a (if not a good, at least) better idea? Anyone?

        •  Ok, if you really believe this is the long term (none)
          ...answer than go for it.  Engage the sort of things you have to do in order to accomplish this.  Build a movement.  Lobby for this.  But don't expect it can be done overnight.  This will take decades.

          DON'T offer this up as a response to Roberts because it will do nothing for us in the short run.  Nothing.  Just ask yourself, what would Dobson's response be to the Repubs if they even hinted that they were considering such an offer.  The Republican party would disintegrate in a matter of minutes, that's what.

          "... the Republicans have fucked reality so hard they need a physics professor to straighten them out." -- hamletta

          by manyoso on Wed Jul 20, 2005 at 09:47:02 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  It will put them on record against it and that (none)
            will serve us in the long term.

            WE have the upper hand on this one. Throwing an idea out there is something they love to accuse us of not doing.

            Why not now? If not now, then when? Sure, most proposals to amend the constitution go down in flames the first time around, but this isn't the first time this kind of idea has been put out there. Bill Clinton went on the record for it (sorry, I'm linkless on that one).

            Now is an opportune time to bring this up. What's a better response? They're making us very nervous about reproductive rights, as well as themselves, I would imagine.

            We'll always be in some amorphous battle, punching the fog, until we draw a line in the sand.

            •  It won't put anything on the record (none)
              The Republicans control the agenda.  Look at the current Democratic Senatorial agenda.  Do you see any of those bills getting attention from the Republican leadership or the press?  I didn't think so.

              We can answer with this all we want and at most it'd be a one day story.  The Republicans will shrug and ignore it and there will be nothing we can do about it.  Now, if you want to campaign on it that's another thing.

              "... the Republicans have fucked reality so hard they need a physics professor to straighten them out." -- hamletta

              by manyoso on Wed Jul 20, 2005 at 10:39:34 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  Well... (none)
        I mean you could make similar arguments about GOP amendments banning flag burning and gay marriage.  They're out of step with the mainstream, they don't have a chance in hell of passing, the media didn't take them very seriously when they were first proposed.

        But the possibility that someone would finally DO something to insure conservative values sure proved to be a huge political boon.  The GOP amendments are usless pieces of legislation, but they're brilliant political strategy.  I don't think the Democrats should ignore the political value of proposing amendments with little chance of passage; they let pols look like they're doing something by proposing things with very little chance of actually getting done.

        You know what the Midwest is? Young and restless... - Kanye West

        by ChicagoDem on Wed Jul 20, 2005 at 09:47:16 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yes, but they are in the majority (none)
          So, when they propose amendments the media does take notice.  This would be little more than hand waving to an empty press junket.

          "... the Republicans have fucked reality so hard they need a physics professor to straighten them out." -- hamletta

          by manyoso on Wed Jul 20, 2005 at 10:33:22 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Except (none)
            When they first proposed their slate of amendments they were not in the majority at all.  The flag burning and balanced budget amendments in particular predated the Contract With America, an era when the GOP was a "permanent minority" in Congress.

            You know what the Midwest is? Young and restless... - Kanye West

            by ChicagoDem on Wed Jul 20, 2005 at 10:59:05 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Good observation! And now (none)
              they're on top. Even bad ideas can win both houses.
              •  Yeah (none)
                Well thats the beauty of proposing amendments.  They're literally the hardest thing to pass, so you can use them to really pump up your base without scaring off moderates.  

                Like the flag burning thing.  When it was proposed, it looked like they'd never make a federal ban get beyond the SCOTUS.  The proposed amendment made it look like they'd be able to finally get their position into law without being challenged.  Of course, the fact that it was defeated meant that they didn't have to worry about much long term political damage (it's much harder to run against an attempt than an actual law).

                I really think Dems should be calling for more amendments.  Among them, the right to organize unions; the right to reproductive freedom; and the right to some form of healthcare.

                You know what the Midwest is? Young and restless... - Kanye West

                by ChicagoDem on Wed Jul 20, 2005 at 11:20:28 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  you keep my spark of hope alive (none)
                  Maybe it's a little premature to roll up our constitutional convention. Maybe there are few patriots left among us. Maybe pooh, pooh, pooh is an inadequate rallying cry.

                  We probably won't look much like giantkillers if we already think we are and will always be road pizzas.

    •  On the Constitution, I am a conservative (3.00)
      I don't think we should be using that document to legislate except in extreme cases.
      This is a game the right-wing plays for better than us. One of the arguments against such nonsense as the flag burning amendment is that it clutters up the Constitution. Once progressives start down this trail, how to we argue against prayer in school, anti-gay marriage etc as effectively?
      At some point if the Court makes extreme rulings that need to be overturns AND progressives are in a better legislative position, fine. But for now, let's not go there.
      •  Legislate (none)
        There's no such thing as using the Constitution to "legislate."  That's a Republicanism of the worst order.  

        Just explain what you mean.  It'll make more sense to everyone here.

        Thanks.

        •  He means (none)
          That the constitution should be changed very carefully and when all other suitable avenues have been exhausted.  Much easier to change United States code than it is to change the Constitution, and for a very good reason.

          "... the Republicans have fucked reality so hard they need a physics professor to straighten them out." -- hamletta

          by manyoso on Wed Jul 20, 2005 at 09:35:16 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  if you've got another avenue (none)
            let's hear it. If by some happenstance Roberts is knocked down, they'll stand another one up. It never ends. There's a big question here that we can at least start to settle around the edges. The people are with us on this one.
            •  Personally, I'd start with (none)
              the 1st Amendment to the Constitution. Why champion for additional (unlikely to ever pass) amendments when a great 1st Amendment already exists?  

              Most Americans are a lot dumber than we give them credit for- George Carlin 2004

              by maggiemae on Wed Jul 20, 2005 at 10:03:27 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  How about instead of Amend 28-30 (none)
      we push for a broader constitutional amendment XXVIII of privacy? That way we could include things like birth control, national id, gay marriage etc. along with women's right to choose.  I'm not sure how it would best be worded, but I'm thinking incorporation of "the right to be left alone" from Olmstead(?).

      I figure that if we lose some judicial battles, we might have to go the constitutional amendment route. It will probably be a HUGE challenge, but in some respects it might be a great way of rallying our base if we can gather momentum to pursue both a federal voting rights and privacy rights amendments.

      •  You and manyoso (sp?) have my thanks (none)
        for not being mute and raising some valid thoughts.

        Why did I break it down into those 3?

        I wanted to go from the ugliest, to the pretty damn ugly, as these are weapons in a cultural war. Fight the fight against the ugliest first. Make some friends. Move on. The first is the daisy cutter, and the last is the uzi.

        And they're not the end of my ideas, either. Nor do I think that they have to be the best, but I really do want people to ask themselves if there's a better show in town. About the nominee: he's probably wrong for America on this, but if you knock him down, they'll just send another. And they'll ALL tamper with the Constitution. That's their job.

        But I don't really see how reasonable people could argue against them as a matter of public policy. It may be interesting to seem them try.

        •  You are missing the point (none)
          They WON'T argue against them.  They'll simply ignore them and claim the Democrats aren't serious.  Your proposed amendments will be treated with a yawn and a sigh from the Republicans and press alike.  And that is the BEST we could hope for.

          Also, you are wrong that if push came to shove they wouldn't argue against them.  They most certainly would.  They've maintained all along that if you consider an unborn fetus a living human being that there should be no exceptions.  Unfortunately, they won't have to argue against them as they'll just yawn and turn around and go back to reading there newspapers.

          "... the Republicans have fucked reality so hard they need a physics professor to straighten them out." -- hamletta

          by manyoso on Wed Jul 20, 2005 at 10:36:59 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  You didn't yawn, but then (none)
            I WAS being quite annoying.

            I don't think either of us really know where a discussion of a constitutional amendment would go.

            But so far, you are proven right. Bill Clinton did bring up this idea when we were on top. Then, it went nowhere. Just as you say it would now.

            It's quite likely that we'll never how where my amendments or any like mine would be received. But the times have changed.

            But this squabbling over nominees is starting to look a little too chickenshit to impress the other side much.

  •  Exactly (4.00)
    Kudos, Markos, for picking out that comment.  That's exactly the point.  You nailed it.
  •  Wow (3.80)
    I didn't expect to find myself on the front page without even writing a diary!

    I've already seen lots of excellent comments along the lines I suggest.  We have so many good minds here I have no doubt we'll find the right answer.

    •  you absolutely (none)
      nailed it Steve. Thank you for your insight and wisdom and reason, we are going to need lots of it in the days ahead.
    •  Get over it. (none)
      It is a brilllilant comment.  Well done and I totally agree with you.

      One doesnt need laws if one lives in harmony

      by environmentalist on Wed Jul 20, 2005 at 09:33:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Like a "productive out" in baseball (none)
      Or the pitch in the dirt that sets up the strikeout.  Good comment and post.

      There are ways to use this nomination to set markers for when the filibuster SHOULD be used, so we can excluse a true wingnut like Rogers Brown or Owen or Pryor.  Lines to put him on the right side of.

      IMHO issue 1 should be privacy, but couched in a libertarian way, such as Meyer v. Nebraska  and Pierce v. Society of Sisters, which he showed some sympathy for (can't compel public, as opposed to private, school attendance).  Try to find his limit on this.

      Issue 2 is commerce clause and limits of regulation of business.  

      "False language, evil in itself, infects the soul with evil." ----Socrates

      by Mimikatz on Wed Jul 20, 2005 at 09:56:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I'm just glad..... (none)
      .... someone still has their wits about them.

      "When the Nationals took over the NL East lead in early June, Frank Robinson should have declared: MISSION ACCOMPLISHED"

      by crazymoloch on Wed Jul 20, 2005 at 10:15:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I think it could turn out for the positive. (none)
    This is an opportunity for sure.

    Talk of overturning Roe v. Wade, and subsequently making it a rallying point for the GOP, will alienate a heck of a lot of pro-choice Republicans.  (I'm sure we all know that many of the "pro-business" Republicans and "SoCal Republicans" are very pro-choice.)  This will undoubtedly cause problems for politicians like Arlen Specter, John McCain, Snoweandcollins (who are the same person), etc.  This could make many McCain-ish Republicans realize that their party has been taken over.

    •  Exactly (none)
      This gives us the much needed opportunity to hammer home the fact that close to 70 percent of Americans DO NOT wish to see Roe overturned...and Roe isn't the only issue.  We can use this tactic throughout the process...our positions are those of the majority of American citizens.
    •  I don't see any evidence (none)
      except perhaps the 'gang of 14' that moderate republicans care one bit that the neocons have taken over their party.  And in that one instance I think it had less to do with moderating ideology and a lot more to do with understanding the long term consequenses of abolishing the filibuster and how that would affect their ability to dominate.
  •  asdf (none)
    Personally, I think the democrats should just give him the aok tomorrow and get it off the agenda.  They are planning to confirm him anyway so why go through all the vetting?  Just get it off the news and get back to the real ethical problems with this administration and the run up to the war in Iraq.
    •  Vetting is important. (none)
      You could score a lot of political points in that process. If he answers straight-forwardly, and adopts a negative view of Roe v. Wade, that will blare across the newsmedia and into people's homes.

      "If cows and horses had hands, they would depict their gods as cows and horses." Xenophanes

      by upstate NY on Wed Jul 20, 2005 at 09:38:56 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Dems should at least pretend (none)
        that they care about civil liberties.

        I'm just hoping that they don't roll over becasue of all of this talk of civility. Advise and consent- that is the way it should be. Bush shouldn't get a free pass becasue he has finally behaved in a civil manner.

        •  Draw Blood, Move on (none)
          Inflict a little damage, then move on...That should be our strategy....

          This was a terrific post.....

          I did not receive $ from Ketchum, U.S. Department of Ed or HHS to write this---though I wish I had.

          by Volvo Liberal on Wed Jul 20, 2005 at 10:26:44 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Re; your last sentence- (none)
          "Bush shouldn't get a free pass because he has finally behaved in a civil manner."

          When Asshat behaves in a civil manner, with all his political capital <snark>, you know instinctively, morally, and INTELLECTUALLY  something is wrong.

          It's just another ruse/guise/con because his poll numbers are so piss poor, and his Pillsbury doughbrain is in serious hot water, with  Fitzgerald bearing down like a starved wolf.  

          Bush is all to aware of what the nomination of the unknown Roberts will do in confirmation hearings. The partisan distraction/divide this candidate will create. This is just another divisive ace up his always slimy sleeve. Uniter...pfft... Asshat can kiss my entire backside!

          For me the greatest overarching issue is the privacy issue. Schivo, Patriot Act , and Roe v Wade are all issues related to our Constitutional (individual) right to privacy. The sound bite message can be tied to our collective/individual ongoing loss of that right.  

          Most Americans are a lot dumber than we give them credit for- George Carlin 2004

          by maggiemae on Wed Jul 20, 2005 at 10:34:23 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Old story (none)
    Republicans represent business, democrats represent people. The well written post from the corporate attorney notwithstanding, a corporate attorney has no place on the bench of the Supreme Court of a democracy.
    •  Abraham Lincoln (none)
       was a corporate attorney.

       If you look for virtue in a man's occupation, you're on a quest for fool's gold.

      I tell you there is a fire. They have this day set a blazing torch to the temple of constitutional liberty and, please God, we shall have no more peace forever.

      by Anderson Republican on Wed Jul 20, 2005 at 09:26:39 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  If You Believe This, You're In the Wrong Party (none)
      Republicans represent business, Democrats (too many of them at any rate) represent...well, largely other businesses.  Look at the recent vote on bankruptcy "reform" for a dramatic illustration of this.

      There's much to be said for the view that a corporate attorney should have no place on the bench of the Supreme Court. Just don't expect the Democratic Party to represent that view.

      Support IWT
      Independent World Television
      The Alternative to the Corporate Media

      by GreenSooner on Wed Jul 20, 2005 at 09:31:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Plastic Surgeons either (none)
        And for that matter we shouldn't allow hair dressers.  I also don't like used car salesmen, telemarketers, etc, etc.

        OTOH, it seems like a, oh, I don't know, LAWYER, is exactly the kind of occupation that should be filling the Supreme Court.

        So, if your only quibble is the word 'Corporate' I have to ask... Do you just never buy anything from Corporations... would you be as incensed by a 'Business' lawyer?  Do you only want personal injury lawyers on the bench?

        Sheesh.

        "... the Republicans have fucked reality so hard they need a physics professor to straighten them out." -- hamletta

        by manyoso on Wed Jul 20, 2005 at 09:38:30 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  nonsense (none)
      This is a dumb thing to say.

      Everybody except the very rich and the very fortunate has to work for a living.  One of the main ways that lawyers earn a living is by working for corporations.  In this they are no different from other types of professionals.

      To say that someone's judgement is necessarily inferior because they work for a corporation rather than, say, a partnership, a think tank, a government agency, or a non-profit is ridiculous. Most big law firms do most of their work for corporations; are lawyers who work at law firms likewise no good?

    •  This (none)
      is an ignorant and extremist statement.
    •  Was it just a job? or something more? (none)
      I've worked for a number of attorneys, both corporate and others. It's a job. For many of them, that's all it is -- a job.

      The fact that Roberts once worked as a corporate attorney isn't the problem. Most corporate attorneys leave their job behind when they leave the office...  and of course, the work most corporate attorneys do is not tied into politics except at the firm or company level. In the world of corporate law, government regulation and legislative work, attorneys work on all sides of the issues, depending on whose policy and point of view they are advocating for. Attorneys also move around -- from working for a government agency to private practice representing industry clients, to working for other advocacy groups.

      The real question is: Is Roberts the kind of man who can leave his dedication to his previous employers and their particular policies and goals behind once his job changes, in order to view ALL sides of a judicial question, so as to render a judgment based on the LAW and not his previous connections? This seems to be a running problem for Bush's nominees -- they not only come out of the corporate interest side of the matter, but continue to maintain strong connections to the same corporate interests and industry lobbying groups they once were employed by or closely associated with, and thus call their dedication to their new positions as defenders of the government programs or policies they once lobbied against into question. The phrase "hiring the fox to guard the henhouse" comes to mind.

      So the real question, to which we do not yet know the answer (and will likely have a devil of a time finding out until after Roberts is confirmed):
      Is Roberts capable of being an impartial justice, ruling on matters of the Constitutional law independent of his previous corporate connections, or does he feel he owes his loyalty to the Republican leadership and the corporate lobbyists?  Will he an advocate for the Constitution and the American people... or for the Republican neocon agenda?  

      We don't know yet. The Democrats in the Senate owe it to the American people to push for answers to the hard questions, and if those answers are not forthcoming, to be obstructionist as all hell about it. We're the opposition, dammit, and opposing nominees that do not represent the mainstream of American views, who will deliberately attempt to undermine rights that we consider vital to the American people should fucking well be opposed.  We'll likely lose, and there's only so much we can do about it. But meanwhile, it's the job of the Senate to ask the hard questions and insist on getting straight answers.  

      "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 Wed Jul 20, 2005 at 01:07:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  So true (none)
    This is a terrific comment -- we have gotten too used to Chicken Little politics from our leadership. We keep being told that the end is nigh, which is a terrible battle strategy.

    Seriously, it works for some of us. In 2004, us earnest libs were thinking if Bush won, the world would go to shit. Not that we were wrong, per se, but how attractive a strategy is that? "Vote for Kerry or the whole country goes to hell in a handbasket."

    Plus, a lot of earnest libs are complete single-issuers and if you don't say their particular issue they'll turn on you in a second. So the "whole schlemiel" strategy is partly to prevent the anger of particular interest groups.

    And to those one-issue people, I say, come on and unite with the front. We gotta take turns championing and being championed. Baby steps, not caving for great leaps backwards.

  •  It is ONLY an opportunity if the Dems (4.00)
    are unitied and vociferous in their opposition to Thomas.

    If that should happen, then when he starts voting with Scalia we can say "I told you so".

    If, on the other hand, we are divided and wishy washy, as with Iraq, we have no standing with the voters and only a lost opportunity.

    I am not that optimistic

  •  "Let's look at this as an opportunity." (4.00)
    You have no choice.  

    Take what the defense gives you.  Find opportunities to make your opponents regret their decision.  Be creative.  

    You have no choice but to use everything you have, including your opponents' decisions and actions.  

    Actually, you do have one other choice:  defeatism.  

    Make your choice.  
    .

  •  BRAVO! (none)
    ..to Steve M.  I was thinking essentially the same thing last night.  This has the potential (along with all the recent corruption) to turn the tide against the Republican Party for decades.  Its their stupid move to make and we should take full advantage of it if they do.
  •  Excellent thoughts (none)
    I've been thinking the same thing since the groups ramped up last night.  I know he's not good, I'm concerned about his views on Roe, the environment, etc, but this looks to me like a pitch that the Dems shouldn't swing at.  They should advise and consent, and Teddy and others should give him a hard time, but I think this nomination isn't one that everyone should oppose to our dying breath.  We've been fortunate so far to not be painted as obstructionist, but I think that could change if we go all-out on Roberts.

    Let's deal with him and get back to Rove.  ;)

    "Markets can remain irrational longer than you can remain solvent."

    by jump23 on Wed Jul 20, 2005 at 09:28:13 AM PDT

    •  I wouldn't mind (2.50)
      being painted as obstructionist. We're the minority party, that's what we are supposed to do. And god forbid we actually show a little backbone, we might even win some elections.
    •  I'm really curious (none)
      about your rating me with a one...I dont' think my comment is unproductive simply because I disagree with you. My first impulse is to down rate your initial comment but that would be pure retaliation so I won't. Your inital comment still does however, strike me a bullshit. What is fortunate about not being painted as obstructionist? I'm dead serious. I really think its well overdue to have some principal and not care so much about the rumors that partisan hacks try to paint you with. It strikes me a pure appeasement- playing thier game and into their hands. My opinion and even with that I can still respect that you are entitled to your own. But if you have some evidence that the vichy strategy is working, by all means please share.
  •  The frame for Roberts. (4.00)
    I think the appropriate frame for Roberts is: Weak Bush reverses pledge, attempts to sneak activist judge into Supreme Court.

    Roberts is obviously well liked and has relatively little jurisprudence to go on.  He also doesn't have any wacky statements out there like some of the other possible nominees.

    However, he (and his wife) have a history of supporting judicial activism -- he even belongs to the Activist Society (or whatever it's called).  I don't think we'll succeed in stopping him (he'll probably get 75 to 80 votes) but at least we can establish this fact: Republicans are not honest about their Supreme Court nominees (or much else) and will always go for an activist in order to upset the established order of the United States.

    George W. Bush -- It's mourning in America.

    by LarryInNYC on Wed Jul 20, 2005 at 09:28:57 AM PDT

    •  Frame (none)
      This was the frame used by Patrick Leahy on NPR this morning.  Something along the lines of "this nominee is another activist judge like Thomas and Scalia, legislating from the bench".

      The fundies love activist judges, as long as they agree with the decisions they make.  They are liars if they say otherwise.

  •  Amen (none)
       This is all about elections.  Thats what politics is.  The one vote here, one conformation here are nothing but small points in a bigger game.  And the W goes in the column of the party that wins elections and has majority control.  Thats the Republic we live in.  If you want a Parlimentary government go to Europe or propose a new Constitution.  I'm here to fight for the Republic we have, as "winner-takes-all" as it is.
       We hammer this conformation process: ask Roberts what he believes, how he stacks with Scalia/Thomas, and paint the picture for America.  Then run with it in 06/08 in every state, at every level.  Make it very clear what America people are voting for.  The America of promise that we've been moving towards since Boston circa 1700s, or the static America of Bush/Rove/Scalia/Thomas where the rich get richer and 2nd class citizenship is the norm.
  •  I agree... winning is paramount (none)
    I posted the below last night and it expresses many of the same sentiments provided in the intro to this thread.  I feel compelled to contribute and post it once again:

    "A Difficult, Lasting Lesson

    The evidence on the guy is perfectly clear - in the context of the last half century's jurisprudence, John Roberts is an extremist.  He is so extreme, the religious right - yes, those extreme religious right fanatics we inversely gauge ourselves against - are celebrating tonight.  They are celebrating the fact that Mr. Roberts will move this country back to the "traditional values" that existed prior to the FDR court.

    Frankly, I think Roberts along with Rehnquist's successor will do just that. We are about to witness a gradual, but definite regression of jurisprudence.  Our children will learn first-hand many of the injustices and inequities that existed under Constitutional interpretation that was in force prior to the 1940's.  This, I feel is inevitable.

    You see, I believe this last Presidential election was the moment which will define American jurisprudence for the next 30 years.  We lost that election, but should not have.  We could have been and should have been the ones celebrating tonight as the concept of a living Constitution was secured for generations to come.  We could have been the ones resting more easily tonight knowing that our children would grow up in a country where the progressive values we hold so dear would endure.

    This should be a lesson for all Democrats.  Republicans have already learned the lesson.  Winning elections is what matters. Winning elections at nearly any cost and with any coalition is what matters.  The Democratic Party has failed spectacularly in this respect the last 20 years and we pay the price tonight and for the next 30 years.  

    The only question now is - how much longer will it take for Democrats to learn this lesson?"

    •  evidence? (none)
      Could you please present the evidence spoken of:

      "The evidence on the guy is perfectly clear - in the context of the last half century's jurisprudence, John Roberts is an extremist."

      I have seen none such.

      •  this pretty much sums it up (none)
        http://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/20/opinion/20wed1.html

        The issue here is not just abortion and the right to privacy.  It's difficult to be an extremist on this topic given the immense polarization associated with it.   Judge Roberts is an extremist because of his ardent and activist views on federalism.  He wants to turn back the clock on the power of the federal government to regulate such matters as the environment and labor conditions.   He is very much in line with Scalia and Thomas on this.

        If you want to learn more, please see psoting on mr. roberts from NARAL, Moveon.org, JohnKerry.com, etc.  

        •  Try again (none)
          If you read the NYT editorial, what it says is that questions must be asked.  Of course questions must be asked.  They must be asked about any candidate, especially anybody with questionable associates.

          The editorial does not say that Roberts shares extremist views or is an extremist.  

          Do you have any evidence for your repeated assertion that Roberts is an extremist?  There is none in that NYT editorial.

          •  Easy... (none)
            Just 3 examples of Roberts' extremism from http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1434829/posts (the guy went even further than the other right-wingers on the D.C. circuit):

            "In the unanimous ruling last October in Hedgepeth v. WMATA, Roberts upheld the arrest, handcuffing and detention of a 12-year-old girl for eating a single french fry inside a D.C. Metrorail station. "No one is very happy about the events that led to this litigation," Roberts acknowledged in the decision, but he ruled that nothing the police did violated the girl's Fourth Amendment or Fifth Amendment rights.

            Roberts also displayed what some viewed as insouciance toward arroyo toads in a 2003 case, Rancho Viejo v. Norton. Roberts wanted the full D.C. Circuit to reconsider a panel's decision that upheld a Fish and Wildlife Service regulation protecting the toads under the Endangered Species Act. Roberts said there could be no interstate commerce rationale for protecting the toad, which, he said, "for reasons of its own lives its entire life in California."

            In another decision last June, Roberts went even further than his colleagues in supporting the Bush administration in a case that pitted the government against veterans of the first Gulf War. American soldiers captured and tortured by the Iraqi government during the first Gulf War sued the Iraqi government in U.S. court and won nearly $1 billion in damages at the district court level.

            But once Saddam was toppled in 2003, the Bush administration wanted to protect the new Iraqi government from liability and intervened to block the award. Roberts, alone among the circuit judges who ruled with the government, said the federal courts did not even have jurisdiction to consider the victims' claim. An appeal is before the Supreme Court."

            If you analyze Roberts' legal reasoning in these cases and some others, it becomes quite clear that his view of jurisprudence is very much in line with Constitutional principles that existed prior to 1940.  Roberts believes that the powers of the federal government in term of environmental regulation, civil rights legislation and labor law should be drastically reduced or eliminated entirely. He is also very reluctant to recognize any fundamental right for the citizenry that is not explicity enunciated in the Constitution.  This is very extreme... by even typical conservative standards.

            If you need more evidence, I'm not sure you understand the implications of these rulings.  They are simply extreme.

            •  Nope (none)
              This isn't extremism.  Sorry, no banana.

              The most worrisome thing here (from some perspectives) is his States' Rights approach to the arroyo toad case.  But remember that he's replacing the strongest States' Rights advocate on the court, Sandra Day O'Connor.  Her dissent in the California pot case was scathing.  She would undoubtedly have agreed with Roberts on the toad.  So how can you assert that his position on States' Rights would change the court's stance?

              In the French Fry case, all Roberts did is uphold a bad law.  Lawmakers have the right to make bad laws, as long as they're not unconstitutional, which this one wasn't.  In this case, the law was rescinded afterwards.  Roberts even mocked the stupidity of the law from the bench.

              It was a cool, clear October day in Washington, D.C., when the closing bell rang and twelve-year-old Ansche Hedgepeth ran out the door of Alice Deal Junior High School. She stopped at a fast-food restaurant for an order of hot French fries and then headed for home. Ansche took the escalator down into the Tenleytown/American University Metrorail station to catch her train. In the station, she ate a single French fry. Moments later, the junior high student was in handcuffs and headed for jail.

              Ansche had no idea that the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) had picked that Monday to kick-off a week of "zero tolerance" enforcement of "quality of life offenses." They had ordered undercover officers to automatically punish even minor infractions.

              D.C. Code § 35-251(b) makes it a violation to "consume food or drink" in a Metrorail facility. For a first offense, adults could be fined from $10 to $50. Only for a second offense can an adult be arrested. Minors, however, cannot be fined. Officers can either warn them, or arrest them, but the zero tolerance policy made arrest the only option.

              An undercover officer saw Ansche eat the one fry and quickly placed her under arrest. The twelve-year-old girl was searched and her jacket, backpack, and shoelaces were confiscated. Her hands were cuffed behind her back and she was put into a paddy wagon and driven to the Juvenile Processing Center. Three hours after the arrest, Ansche was finally released into the custody of her mother.

              In a decision reluctantly upholding Ansche's arrest, the judge noted that she was totally compliant, never resisting, only crying throughout the process. She had never eaten in a Metrorail station before, nor had she ever been warned not to eat there. The judge mocked the harsh, zero tolerance enforcement of the "serious offense of eating a French fry on a subway platform."

              The district judge lamented the "humiliating and demeaning impact of the arrest" and suggested that the WMATA "re-think any other `foolish' operating procedures before subjecting - or continuing to subject - unwary users of mass transportation to the indignity and horror suffered by [Ansche]." The Supreme Court, in a decision finding no constitutional problem with a similar incident, cited news reports of Ansche's treatment as an example of a "comparably foolish, warrantless misdemeanor arrest" (Atwater v. City of Lago Vista).

              In the face of public criticism, the WMATA rescinded their "zero tolerance" policy that required arresting minor children for minor infractions.

              http://www.overcriminalized.com/studies/2004.01_ZT2.html

              Again, you should note that the Supreme Court found no constitutional problem with a similar incident.  So why would you assert that his inclusion would change the Supreme Court's stand?  How can this be called extremism unless you're saying the whole Supreme Court is already extremist?

              In order to argue that Roberts is a real problem, you must be able to demonstrate not only that he is a conservative, but that he is significantly to the right of O'Connor herself.  Otherwise, it's a wash, now isn't it?

              The Times has an article today that includes some more information about Roberts:

              http://tinyurl.com/e2trk

              Quotes from him give a good idea of his judicial philosophy:

              "I do not have an all-encompassing approach to constitutional interpretation; the appropriate approach depends to some degree on the specific provision at issue," Judge Roberts wrote in response to a written question during his 2003 confirmation to the federal appeals court in Washington. "Some provisions of the Constitution provide considerable guidance on how they should be construed; others are less precise.

              "I would not hew to a particular 'school' of interpretation," he added, "but would follow the approach or approaches that seemed most suited in the particular case to correctly discerning the meaning of the provision at issue."

              So where is this extremism people claim to have identified?  I'm waiting.

  •  Ambassador Joe Wilson on Al Franken Now (none)
    Ambassador Joe Wilson on Al Franken Now

    Air America Radio

  •  Don't get it (none)
    Sounds like pre-rationalizing defeat before the fight even starts.  
    •  strategic planning vs. pre-rationalizing (none)
      "Defeat" is a state of mind. This is not about pre-rationalizing anything. It's about seeing beyond a single battle, acting strategically rather than knee-jerking, understanding that it's never "over," and that you don't win by rushing forward in blind anger or by howling in pain.

      I used to live in the United States of America. Now I live in a homeland.

      by homeland observer on Wed Jul 20, 2005 at 10:01:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  That's exactly what it is. (none)
         Too many Democrats are not interested in actually winning when it counts, they're always strategizing for "the next move".  What they forget is that the best strategy is winning.  The Republicans got where they are by winning a number of very marginal elections under dubious and perhaps illegal circumstances (1980 and 2000 for instance) and then parlaying those marginal victories into something more substantial.  People don't like to vote for losers.  
         Vichy Democrats keep telling us that, "well, if the other side screws up, we can show them that we were right all along"; but then they vote for the other side's nominees and proposals, and when the actual opportunity comes around to say "we were right, they were wrong, who'd you rather vote for?" they never take it.  It's a profoundly losing strategy, useful only for bamboozling real Democrats into pulling their punches and not actually fighting for their principles.  Enough of the surrendering already!
  •  Kos, thank you (none)
    for throwing down the gauntlet.  I agree that this is an opportunity.  I also think the answer to your timing question is that Rove thinks his troubles make a good cover for Roberts to avoid the scrutiny of folks like us.  

    I would only disagree on the time frame.  Minds can wait until September.  Hearts will be decided much sooner.  We don't have very long to shape this debate if we want the public on our side.  The frame is already taking shape that Roberts is confirmable.

  •  Federalist Society (none)
    I hope that in the process of looking at Roberts, the Democrats work hard to expose the Federalist Society. It has been largely under the radar for years and is an ideological, extremist and almost clandestine organization; it has very quietly gained inordinate power in the legal profession. In my view, his membership in the Society is enough to persuade me he'll be a disaster.

    David Brock did some good work on them in "The Republican Noise Machine," but there's undoubtedly more to be done.

    •  it is? (none)
      Tell them to stop inviting me to their events, then.  I've attended a ton, both here and in law school.

      It's a networking group.  Nothing secretive at all.

      "Any content-based regulation of the Internet, no matter how benign the purpose, could burn the global village to roast the pig." -- ACLU v Reno (E.D. Pa. 1996)

      by Adam B on Wed Jul 20, 2005 at 11:04:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  trap (none)
    Another way to look at the Roberts nomination is as a trap.

    The Republican criticism of the Democrats regarding judge appointments has been that they are obstructionists.  The agreement of 14 states that the Dems will not use a filibuster except in extreme circumstances.

    I'm sorry, but these do not currently appear to be extreme circumstances.  This guy Roberts looks like an intelligent, sincere, honest fellow who just happens to be right-wing.  C'est la vie.  Extreme circumstances would be appointing someone who doesn't believe in the Constitution -- say, someone who supports torture, or someone who opposes civil liberties -- to the court.  We have no such evidence that Roberts is such an extremist.

    This could be a simple trap:  trot out a reasonable right-winger, and let the Dems get their panties in a bunch.  That would prove your point that they are partisan obstructionists.  Then you pull out the big guns (Nuclear Option, anyone?).  The next time you appoint someone (to replace the fading Rehnquist), you can then appoint someone to the right of Attila the Hun, and the Dems won't be able to do a damn thing, because whatever they say will fit into the story of partisan obstructionism.

    I bet Rove is praying every night that the Dems filibuster Roberts.

    If a clear reason is found why Roberts is so far out of the political mainstream that sensible right-wingers can consider him an extremist, then we've got a reason to complain.

    Otherwise, the Dems should just declare victory and retreat.  Do some examination of his record, talk about how you might not agree with him about everything, but he seems to be a sensible candidate, and say how happy you are that Bush has recognized the Constitutional role of the Senate to Advise and Consent to judicial nominations.

    Have the blabby folks (e.g. Carville) go on TV and talk about how that nonsense about Democrats being partisan obstructionists was obviously so much bunk, because look, they're not.  Democrats only get upset when you try to appoint unqualified people from the loony fringe to judgeships.

  •  My thoughts (3.33)
     First, I'm ignorant. I really don't know what Roberts means for us. I've looked over the info that has been posted here, and have come to the conclusion that we all really don't know. Yes, he carried water for Bush in Florida, argued case against Roe, pretty much the record of a Republican. But, how he will be as a SC judge, who knows?
     Second, the right has been all over yelling that we are the "party of no." I bet I heard that phrase at least 30 times last week alone. I think that we need to change that little label to one that better describes what we are. An immediate call to fillibuster just plays into that meme. Given our position as the minority party, it's hard not to go there. When you see the bull-dozer about to tear down the house, the first instinct is to yell, NO!
     Stop with the "no". Start with a new label. How about "Show Me." Show me the cards that are up your sleeve. Show me your hidden agenda. Show me how this serves the people. Show me your "mandate" to alter settled law in OUR country. We're here to listen, in fact we are all ears. Show me, in detail how you, Mr. President, have made us safer, more secure, better than we were before. And lastly, show me why we should trust your pick for this court, or any court.
     We are always playing defense. Always explaining our reasons for standing and fighting. I think it's time YOU tell us YOUR reasons. We're waiting.
    •  Nice (none)
      there has to be a way to stand up and be resonable at the same time.
      Also, appeasement is clearly not working in any sense. Blows my mind that republicans are still shrill and angry while they are in power and we still think there is some reason to be all nicey nice. We're not winning and we're not impressing anyone. I wonder why were so worried about the labels the neocons want to paste on us anyway. They clearly could give a shit about what we think. Maybe in that regard we should borrow a leaf from their book.
  •  If an old person complain of losing his sight (none)
    many well intentioned people reply" But you still have good hearing."  To a man who bewails his loneliness since he lost his wife, they say, "But you have the children and good friends."  Such remarks do more harm than good.  A privilege never wipes out suffering.  Nothing replaces anything.

    First things first, but not necessarily in that order.

    by DCDemocrat on Wed Jul 20, 2005 at 09:34:36 AM PDT

  •  peel off the libertarians (none)
    i see the roberts nomination as a great opportunity for dems to champion the libertarian cause.  remember all that stuff about a western platform?  here's our first opportunity to show our true colors.

    more in some previous comments and the long version here.

    because he's not just extremely conservative - he's extremely authoritarian by consistently arguing against the bill of rights and the establishment clause.

    the french fry judge story is a great narrative to show this, BTW.

    i'm not saying we should filibuster.  but short of that, is there any point to us letting the guy sail through?  if we are vocal in our opposition and mostly vote no,  what's wrong with that?

    we'd better decide now if we are going to be fearless men or scared boys.
    — e.d. nixon, montgomery improvement association

    by zeke L on Wed Jul 20, 2005 at 09:34:51 AM PDT

  •  Couldn't disagree more (none)

    Save this fight for when Kennedy retires and the court's makeup is actually threatened.  

    Roberts means nothing.  He's in alignment with Sandra Day O'Connor on nearly everything.

    Lets fight the fights we can win -- lets keep the heat on Rove and the corruption angle for 06.  Bogging down over this slice of wonder bread isn't worth it.

    Why do the facts, reality and objective truth hate America and the baby Jesus?

    by WinSmith on Wed Jul 20, 2005 at 09:35:05 AM PDT

  •  Heads up--Something to look into (none)
    Close to the time Roberts was clerking for Rehnquist, Rehnquist wrote at least memo stating that Brown v. Board of Education was wrongly decided. Somebody needs to check and see if Roberts was in his employ at the time...
  •  In that case, I'll begin. (none)
    I am very concerned that Roberts will overturn protections for the environment. I'll give him the benefit of the doubt, but the idea of strip mining the US into a desert flatland is worrisome.

    In my view, the environmental card is the one to play.

    If the court overturns Roe v. Wade, then god help us. We won't need to "frame" that. It will be a runaway train that stampedes everyone in its path.

    For that reason, I'd say stick to the environmental issue (which is also a corporate issue).

    "If cows and horses had hands, they would depict their gods as cows and horses." Xenophanes

    by upstate NY on Wed Jul 20, 2005 at 09:36:27 AM PDT

    •  Agree. Environment is the one to hit hard on. (none)
      Environmental protection is an issue that cuts across party lines.

      Furthermore, in his concern about an endangered species frog (can't remember exactly) that lives entirely within one state, he was attacking the Interstate Commerce Clause of the Constitution.  It is that clause that underpins most important environmental legislation and other important legislation.

      The Endangered Species Act, the Surface Mining Act, Clean Water Act, etc. etc. all give the Federal Government the power to act under the Interstate Commerce Clause.

      Doing damage to the breadth of the Interstate Commerce Clause can hurt all manner of nationwide programs.  Without a broad interpretation of that Constitutional power, we will wend our way back to the early 1930's, which doesn't seem a very desirable place to be--then or now.

  •  Why I oppose Roberts (none)
    and the rest of Bush's activist judges:

    Because they are trying to expand the powers of government at the expense of us citizens...they stand for B.I.G. -- Big Intrusive Government.

    Well said, Steve M.

    In loving memory: Sophie, June 1, 1993-January 17, 2005. My huckleberry friend.

    by Paul in Berkeley on Wed Jul 20, 2005 at 09:36:28 AM PDT

  •  Give me some of that stuff you're smokin' (none)
    You and acbonin shouldn't bogart that good stuff that has the two of you spinning in happy circles.

    I think it's wishful thinking to believe that Roberts can be used effectively by the Democrats to draw distinctions that will be visible to most voters.  You're a lot more confident in Senate Democrats and in the muddled masses than I am.

    The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.

    by Bragan on Wed Jul 20, 2005 at 09:38:31 AM PDT

    •  Time to use the "F" word (none)
      It is only human to want to give the guy a chance.  Last night, I had that feeling for about 5 minutes.  He had an earnest face.  He smiled at his wife, and if you saw the story about how the little boy misbehaved and had to be taken off the stage (that is why we did not see the children), it had a sort of JFK like quality.

      THEN I STARTED TO LEARN ABOUT HIS RECORD AND ASSOCIATIONS

      The man clerked for Rehnquist-not good.  The man worked for Kenneth Starr-worse.  The man argued against the Endangered Species Act-horrible.

      This man is a stealth Clarence Thomas or Scalia without the paper trail.  He is a rightwing corporatist ideologue who will, if seated on the High Court, join the reactionary wing of the GOP and endanger all we hold dear about our country.

      The time is now to use the filibuster, if we don't have already enough Democratic defections to make that impossible.  But with word that this man is ready to overturn Roe vs Wade and the EPA, I can't see a Democratic senator who will let this go through.

      •  Are we talking about the same Dem Senators? (none)
        I seriously doubt that Roberts will give Democratic Senators anything during the confirmation hearings that will enable them to stoke the Roe v. Wade fires hot enough to burn him.  Unfortunately, I believe environmental concerns have even less of chance of derailing Roberts.

        The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.

        by Bragan on Wed Jul 20, 2005 at 10:05:01 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Confidence? (none)
      I have very little confidence in the Senate Dems, on the whole.  They rarely find the way on their own.

      Consider the Bolton example.  Senate Dems were basically ready to let him sail through.  Then the grassroots got fired up and said hey wait, this guy is really really bad, take a closer look!  And they did take a closer look and decided that this was worth fighting.  They fought so hard they managed to flip a key R and Bolton is probably history.

      The point of my comment was not to urge faith in the Senate Dems.  The point was, if we activists put our heads together, then WE can show Senate Dems the way to make this nomination into an opportunity.  You and I, my friend.

      •  Roberts is not Bolton (none)
        If anything, Roberts is the anti-Bolton, at least in terms of appearance and style, and that, as you should know, is where the game is won and lost.

        The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.

        by Bragan on Wed Jul 20, 2005 at 10:08:44 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Starr Leaks (none)
    Many have noted that journalists have been fairly cavalier about noting that Starr's team leaked shit from their investigation improperly.

    Roberts was part of that team.  That ought to be looked into.

    "Ken has really been unfairly treated,'' said Washington lawyer John G. Roberts Jr., who was Starr's deputy for four years at Justice. "Throughout his career, Ken has been noted for his professionalism, his discretion and his judgment."

    Of Kendall's charges, Roberts said, "I'm quite confident that he'd have no tolerance for any kind of leaking."

    [Investor's Business Daily, February 10, 1998]

    Ties in nicely with Rove and the Espionage Scandal.

    Did Roberts leak improperly to the press?

    Newsies should get on this angle.

    •  Um, no (none)
      As much as I hate what Porn Starr did do this country, Roberts worked for Starr when the porn-obsessed degenerate worked as Solicitor General under Bush I. He was not part of Starr's criminal IC office which tried and failed to overthrow a duly-elected President via a sex-and-perjury sting/set up...

      I did not receive $ from Ketchum, U.S. Department of Ed or HHS to write this---though I wish I had.

      by Volvo Liberal on Wed Jul 20, 2005 at 10:33:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Enlighten me on the legal stuff, please (none)
    If Roe v. Wade WAS overturned, that doesn't mean that all of a sudden abortion is illegal, correct? Essentially, the legality/illegality of abortion is put back into play--whether in individual states or in Congress--and it seems to me that if THAT happens, it would be a political bonus for our side.

    I was a little freaked about all this at first, but several messages on this board have calmed me. We don't need to be talking apocalypse--hell, many of us LAUGH when the religious right does it.

    "I must admit that I don't see a bright tomorrow; still, I must also confess that my hopes are fairly high"--Ass Ponys, "Fighter Pilot"

    by oxymoron on Wed Jul 20, 2005 at 09:40:18 AM PDT

    •  It depends (none)
      I think it would depend upon the basis of the justices' ruling. For instance, if 5 of the justices found that a fetus has equal protection under the 14th amendment, then I do believe that would make abortion illegal in most circumstances. Maybe an exception for the health of the mother might be permissible under this regime?

      However, if the justices simply overturned Roe v Wade, then it would return to the legal regime prior to Roe v Wade and restrictions on abortion from each state would be permissible . . . .
       

    •  If Roe falls (none)
      The battle is over in 17 states right off the bat - they have pre-existing bans in the state laws. Repealing those laws would require the lengthy uphill battle of constitutional amendments and legislative battles.  In the meantime, women are forced to bear children they do not want.  Or run the high risk of injury or death with an illegal abortion.  Or travel to another state if she can afford it (as long as she is not a teenager).  If you're under eighteen and don't have a car, you're shit out of luck.  It is a felony for someone to drive you to another state for an abortion.
      Life Without Roe

      The other states would have a full-fledged fight on their hands, with all of the money and organization of both sides thrown in - months/years of full partisan warfare.  The kind that is already turning people against each other on the basis of party affiliation.

      And don't forget that if Roe falls on the basis that there is no right of privacy that Griswold is wide open.  Want to be able to buy condoms?

      "There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life." Frank Zappa

      by cclough on Wed Jul 20, 2005 at 10:27:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  it's way past time for most people to (none)
        say what they want.
      •  I don't want Roe to fall (none)
        Trust me.

        All I am thinking is that if it DID, and control returned to the states, considering how much of the country wants abortion to remain legal, it could be a political disaster for Republicans.

        I don't know Griswold--but I would think that barrier contraceptives would always remain legal (hey, that's a BUSINESS).

        "I must admit that I don't see a bright tomorrow; still, I must also confess that my hopes are fairly high"--Ass Ponys, "Fighter Pilot"

        by oxymoron on Wed Jul 20, 2005 at 11:10:40 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Hear, Hear... (none)
    Thanks for your comments which reflection maturity and thought.  I thought that if Bush really did become better, we would not have issues to put forth in 2006 and 2008.  No one really expected him to nominate a consensus candidate, did they?  He enjoys the fights, the divisiveness, the power he achieves by dividing us.  
  •  ABR won't work any better than ABB (none)
    If you send a clear message to the American people that "we oppose Roberts because X will happen if he is confirmed," and then X does happen, now you have your campaign issue for 2008, 2012, and beyond. "Elect Democrats so we can roll back X and make sure it never happens again."

    Democrats can't rely on winning simply by explaining to the public what they are not, and hoping that the public will vote for them because they don't like the Republicans. That should have been one of the lessons of the 2004 presidential campaign.

    The public seems to be turning against both Bush and the Republican leadership in Congress, if polls are to be believed.  But voters are not turning to the Democrats, who are also polling badly.

    The challenge for the Democrats is that while they are largely united in their opposition to this administration, they are terribly divided on most issues of consequence to the American public: the war in Iraq, healthcare, trade, and so forth.  No wonder the public isn't running to them.

    Progressives ought to worry about defining what it is we stand for (and, I'd add, supporting a party willing to stand up for those principles).  Hoping that the GOP (in their awfulness) will win elections for the Democrats hasn't worked in the past and won't work in the future.  And if it does somehow work, there's absolutely no guarantee that it will be a real victory for progressives.

    Support IWT
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    by GreenSooner on Wed Jul 20, 2005 at 09:41:25 AM PDT

    •  the three-legged stool (none)
      I agree. The GOP has succeeded because they've defined a small number of core "values" that everyone in the party supports. The two keys here are "small number" and "everyone." What they've created is a three-legged stool supported by:

      1. Neocons. The goal of the leaders is Pax Americana. The core value of the followers is national and personal security.

      2. Theocons. Their goal of the leaders is to control the definition of "faith" and to tear down the wall of separation between church and state. The core value of the followers is the practice their faith as they understand it (and that understanding varies more than is often realized).

      3. Meocons. The goal of the leaders is unchecked corporatism. The core value of the followers is "he who dies with the most toys wins."

      The GOP leaders are using their three-legged stool to reach a larger agenda that most of their followers don't begin to understand. These followers often care only about their one issue, but they've learned the value of party discipline.

      I would like the Democrats to do it all. I would like them to give the followers of the neocons a better option. I would like them to deny the theocons the right to define Christianity and win back people who define their faith in terms of the golden rule. I would like them to help the followers of the meocons understand that growing up is more satisfying than remaining a perpetual child.

      But its the larger agenda that really worries me. That's why I'm willing to focus on just one leg, if that's what it takes to break the stool.

      I used to live in the United States of America. Now I live in a homeland.

      by homeland observer on Wed Jul 20, 2005 at 10:57:13 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  His nominee ain't bad (none)
    I think his nominee is really the best we could've expected from this administration.  He isn't far right, and although I don't personally know the guy, from what I've heard he is a very intelligent man.  And the thing about judges is they are immune to politicians.  For all we know he could've told Bushco what they wanted to hear on issues such as abortion to get himself nominated, but once he's actually in power he can do whatever the hell he wants.  The Republicans have gotten burned in the past on this.  Unless you get someone who is very obviously far right and has a long track record of making very conservative decisions, nominees tend to act more "liberal" once they get a seat on the SCOTUS.  And by "liberal" I mean, since it is their job to pore over the Constitution day in and day out, they realize how important their job is and that the Bill of Rights is all about protecting our freedoms, and will be unlikely to make decisions that restrict our rights.

    Here is my prediction:

    Roberts gets a seat on the SCOTUS and does NOT help to overturn Roe v. Wade.

    I just hope I don't have to stick my foot in my mouth later on.

  •  "The sky is fallling" - NOT (none)
    What kos said.

    Those who think this approach "betrays" a cause you consider sacred, think again. To advance and preserve what you think is right, you must be effective. The road to hell is paved with self-righteous outrage.

    I used to live in the United States of America. Now I live in a homeland.

    by homeland observer on Wed Jul 20, 2005 at 09:43:04 AM PDT

  •  Opportunities are only as good (none)
    as the party who takes advantage of it. Are we going to take advantage of it? I don't know. You seem to thank so. For our sake, I am hoping you are right.
  •  From the American Constitutional Society blog: (none)
    Rubin: Senate Must Probe Into Roberts' Ideology

    Writing in Salon, ACS Founder and Georgetown Law Professor Peter Rubin explains that, while Roberts' record is sparce, there are hints of an ideology which will concern much of the Senate:

       

    Last year, in Hedgepeth v. Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, Roberts wrote an opinion upholding the arrest of a 12-year-old girl for eating a single French fry in a Washington, D.C., Metrorail station while on her way home from junior high school. As the court described, the "girl was arrested, searched, and handcuffed. Her shoelaces were removed, and she was transported in the windowless rear compartment of a police vehicle to a juvenile processing center, where she was booked, fingerprinted, and detained until released to her mother some three hours later." Except for the time she was being fingerprinted, the girl remained handcuffed with her hands behind her back until she was released.

        Roberts concluded that the arrest and detention under a mandatory arrest policy for minors was not an "unreasonable" seizure under the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution, even though adults found to have violated the same no-eating-in-the-Metro ordinance were simply given citations. For obvious reasons, this decision is likely to be a point of some contention in Roberts' confirmation hearing. But of more significance than the decision itself is a part of its reasoning.

        Roberts wrote that the Metro's mandatory arrest policy was not unconstitutional in part because it would not have been "regarded as an unlawful search or seizure under the common law when the Amendment was framed," that is, under the law as it stood in 1791. He described this inquiry as "the usual first step" in assessing Fourth Amendment cases, but really it is not. Instead, it is part of an approach to the law put forward by Justice Scalia, one that has been used inconsistently at best by the Supreme Court, garnering a clear majority's support in only one Fourth Amendment decision. It is an approach that would in essence freeze our rights as they were in 1791. And it is contrary to a great deal of modern Supreme Court case law that is dear to most Americans -- from protection against wiretapping to protection of the right to choose.

    Read Professor Rubin's entire story in Salon.com here.

    For more information on Bush's nominee, check the American Constitutional Society's blog
    here.

    •  Problem with using that case... (none)
      ...is that the other judges on the panel (a three judge panel, IIRC) concurred with the opinion.
      •  The other judges... (none)
        have not been nominated to the SCOTUS.

        What is interesting here, and huge IMO, is not the opinion itself, but the reasoning behind it. Roberts wrote that the law was not unconstitutional because it would not have been "regarded as an unlawful search or seizure under the common law when the [Fourth] Amendment was framed."  What that means is that he is willing to ignore all case law and Supreme Court decisions since 1791 when the Fourth Amendment was passed--in essence freezing our civil liberties in time at 1791. This puts him squarely in the Scalia school of Constitutional interpretation, and suggests to me that he is a dangerous choice for the SCOTUS.

        Democrats in the Senate need to ask the hard questions of Roberts, and this case is a good place to start. If he believes that the proper way to determine the constitutionality of a given law is to start from what would be considered reasonable at the time the Constitution was written, and ignore hundreds of years of jurisprudence, then he is a dangerous ideologue in the Thomas/Scalia mold, and should be filibustered.

        •  Agreed. (none)
          Roberts is a serious threat to mainstream constitutional jurisprudence and should be filibustered. The context of this decision, a 12-year old girl being handcuffed and arrested for eating a french fry, carries an amazing visual image that could sway public opinion if repeated over and over and over and over.

          "I don't reject conservatism because it is followed by conservatives, I reject poor thinking, which conservatives seem especially expert at."

          by dicta on Wed Jul 20, 2005 at 02:49:14 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Word (none)
    Anyone who thinks Roberts is the worst nominee possible hasn't been paying attention to the kinds of judges the Bush Admin was looking at.  Yeah, he's worse than Clement by a wide margin (which is saying something, because she was no Souter in waiting), but there were MUCH worse candidates in the field.  Folks who could easily come back up if another opening comes up in this term.

    Bottom line, I think the Dems should grill him hard, work the press, but ultimately step aside and let a vote through.  Roberts isn't so awful that he warrents expending that kind of political capital unless he does something really awful in his hearings.  Like, say, he refuses to answer any questions from Democratic Senators.  Baring some extreme circumstance, he's not worth blocking.  He's worth fighting.  If we can draw attention to him and his agenda, that will help the Dems in 2006.  Whats more, if we can effectively portray him as I believe Atrios put it, a "made man", that can work to reinforce our messages concerning GOP abuses of power and corruption, re: Rove and Delay.

  •  Because I want to retire someday (4.00)
    Some of us have made a social compact with the companies we work for: we defer part of our salary and the company puts it aside for our retirement.  I do not support a nominee who will allow these companies to break it's contract with it's workers when it becomes expensive.  Those of us in our 30's-40's-50's have an interest in seeing our livelihoods protected as much as that of any business.  
    We are a huge demographic.  We cut across all gender groups and workers.  Do we want what happened to United Airlines employees to happen to the rest of us?  Will the nominee protect the interests of the middle class as vigorously as he protects the people who mentored him to the place he is now?  

    "Choose something like a star to stay your mind on- and be staid"

    by goldberry on Wed Jul 20, 2005 at 09:48:08 AM PDT

    •  That (none)
      is an EXTREMELY good issue, and something I wish the Dems who aren't beholden to MBNA would spend more time on.  It would be a mistake to think that just because we've saved Social Security (for the time being), everyone's retirement is secure.  We need to fight for working people and make sure corporations keep their end of the deal, because retirement security is something that every American cares about.
  •  Of course (none)
    This is why so many of us wanted the Democrats to stand up and fight on the filibuster deal.  There's such a thing as a good loss; one that we can build political capital on and use to retake the Senate.  Instead we got a bloodless compromise that will kneecap us in the future.

    It's ok to fight and lose sometimes because it gives you the ability to fight stronger and more effectively later.  Elementary strategy, and I don't know where the Dems lost it.

    You know what the Midwest is? Young and restless... - Kanye West

    by ChicagoDem on Wed Jul 20, 2005 at 09:51:01 AM PDT

  •  So we don't control Congress now (none)
    Isn't the day that we do something we are all working to achieve? It can actually happen.

    There's no reason to have a bunch of amendments applying to specific cases like "abortion in the case of incest." If the right to abortion is built on the presumption of the right to privacy, why not have an amendment that enshrines the right to privacy?

    There are plenty of people who will happily stand in the polling booths and pull the "Congress get out of my bedroom" lever. A majority, even.

  •  Thank you (none)
    I'm already getting deluged with panicked and shrill email from MoveOn and NARAL. My God, you'd think Jerry Falwell has just been nominated. I agree with this tack. It is an opportunity to drive home several points:

    • elections have consequences
    • the environment is important
    • choice is important
    • civil rights are important
    • and partisanship has no place on the bench

    To borrow Rumsfeld's words "Henny Penny the sky is falling" gains us nothing.

    And it's a hard rain's a-gonna fall -- Dylan

    by Rp on Wed Jul 20, 2005 at 09:53:48 AM PDT

  •  A modest proposal (none)
    Let's resolve not to fill the front page or the recommended diary list with SCOTUS/Roberts. One front page item per day, two max.

    Let's resolve to keep pounding on Rove and keep the focus where it belongs, with room for Iraq and other things that demand attention.

    This is how liberty dies... with thunderous applause.

    by socal on Wed Jul 20, 2005 at 09:55:19 AM PDT

    •  Strongly Disagree (none)
      A week from now, diaries on Roberts will have little or no impact.  The battle is being decided now.  If we want to fight him, a trickle a day won't cut it.  The frame is already being made that he's okay, moderate, and confirmable.  If you want to fight that frame, it must be done now and with full force -- an avalanche of opinion.  

      A trickle will just bring a replay of Kerry's wonderful defeat of the Swift Boat Liars.

  •  Words to live by (none)
    (OR)
    1.) Democrats Filibusters
    2.) Republican use Nuke Option
    3.) A "Good Lose"
    4.) "X" happens
    5.) Democrats Win in 2006 and 2008
    6.) Democrats declare Nuke Option Unconstional
    7.) Justice Roberts must be reconfirmed
    8.) ANT NO WAY!
  •  Speaking of hard work (none)
    This post highlites the incredible of amount of work it takes to get to the point of picking a Supreme Cour Judge.  Think about the amount of work the far religious right has put into this effort.  Years and years of grass-roots work spreading their message from every podium, billions of dollars, two extrememly hard fought election cycles.  

    And they won.

    And this is what they get.

    A safe pick timed to take attention away from the criminal acts of the administration.

    I agree that this will be a great opportunity to highlite what Dems and Repubs dissagree on and the fact that Roberts is not from the lunatic fringe and will most likely get confirmed means this could be an intelligent civil debate (too much to ask?).  A great opportunity to present our arguments to the public.

    60% is 6 of 10 in a focus group. Change 1 mind, it's a dead heat. Change 2, it's a landslide. This campaign's a mechanism of persuasion. -WW

    by ssg012 on Wed Jul 20, 2005 at 10:15:40 AM PDT

    •  Not Quite (none)
      The Constitution doesn't say that the President and his party get whatever judge they want.  It says that they get a judge with the advice and _consent_ of the senate.  Elections do have consequences, and the election of enough Democrats in the Senate to filibuster a nominee has a consequence too.

      Why do we always forget that we were elected to do something and not just sit there and watch?

  •  The Fight Never Ends (none)
    I must admit I was really worked up about Sandra Day O'Connor's retirement and the potential further swing to the right of the US Supreme Court - a sort of apocalyptic attitude.

    I knew so well this very issue was at stake last November and that is why my energies were devoted to getting John Kerry elected.

    It remains to be seen what kind of justice John Roberts will make, certainly conservative, but how radical on certain key issues? Time will tell.

    Roberts will be confirmed, that's a given. But as this posting suggests, the fight is bigger then a single justice to the US Supreme Court and one must never give up fighting no matter how many battles we lose.

    It was so clear to us the disaster the Bush regime was in 2004. How could he possibly be re-elected? But despite record turnout by Democratic voters, the Republicans worked a bit harder in turning out their voters and used both the war on terrorism and the gay marriage issue to bring out their base. That strategy worked.

    Yes, Roberts' elevation to the Supreme Court may in fact create a solid 5-4 conservative majority. It may threaten some current rights and future rights.

    Yes, Roberts may serve on the Court for 30+ years - but not all the current justices will be there 30+ years. All we need to do is elect a Democrat President in 2008 and hopefully be able to swing the Court back to a 5-4 moderate majority. It may however take more then one term of a Democrat in the White House. But another key element is who controls the US Senate. If the Democrats take control of the US Senate, they will not allow a Republican President to appoint an extreme justice.

    To be sure, the Democratic Party is going through a painful self analysis and strategic re-direction. With more and more Americans college educated and stock holders, and less and less Americans part of labor unions, our old formulas and alliances are not a sure thing anymore.

    Yes, we must never forget the individual, the segment of society without powerful interests protecting them, but we must get ever smarter in selling our message to America.

    I could not agree more that merely attacking Bush and the Republican Congress will bring the Democratic Party back to power.

    The Democratic Party must tell Americans what they can do for them, their vision. It must be realistic. It must be an easy to remember marketing campaign similar to Newt Gingrich's Contract With America in 1994.

    I fully realize if the Democratic Party dares to promote new and creative ideas, that that leaves them vulnerable to Republican attack. But people will not vote for someone just because they are anti-Republican.

    In my view, there are two key issues we need to promote - national security (foremost) both domestically and internationally and moral values.

    Speaking as a gay man, we must show America what moral values really are - standing up for all Americans, protecting the poor, a good education for all, protecting all Americans personal rights, standing up for the Bill of Rights (including the second amendment), yes promoting health care and a secure retirement for all Americans, DEFENDING religious freedom. We must be careful and creative in how we package these ideas avoiding tired old slogans but demonstrating these are MORAL VALUES. We need to rephrase how we promote more hot button issues like abortion rights and gay rights - do not allow Republicans to clobber us with our own words, while still promoting these rights.

    And in a post-9/11 world, despite the fact the major wars were fought under Democratic presidents in the 20th century, Americans need to believe the Democrats are TOUGH AS NAILS on national security, no namby pambies. Use the word WAR when referring to terrorism, but make it clear how vulnerable we remain at home due to the mismanagement of resources at home while saying how Democrats will both better allocate resources at home and abroad.

    I am not naive. I am quite well informed. I know very well John Kerry did his best to do just what I proposed last year. But I believe the Democrats get too wrapped up in the minutia of their message and do not keep it simple, the old KISS rule (Keep It Simple Stupid). Clinton did that in 1992 with his "It's the Economy, Stupid" moniker.

    Americans remember only a few key phrases and ideas. We must formulate our vision, develop the marketing campaign, and with a KISS message, pound it home over and over and over and over again.

    When the Republicans attack our message, like message disciplined Republicans, we Democrats must pound our KISS message over and over and over again. Do not take the Republican bate.

    But whether Democrats win in 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012 or beyond, we must never give up the fight!

    Steve Wild

    Daily Speech


  •  Seperated at Birth.... (none)
    Since a picture is worth a thousand words I'll let these two speak for themselves.

    roberts.jpg

    In response to the specifics of the post, we need to identify what laws Roberts will roll back.

    • The Endangered Species Act is one..
    • Clean Air Act
    • Takings and corporate law
    I'm sure there are many others, but the key is to break down the issues into specific cases...a very good strategy.
  •  Here Fucking Here (none)
    Differentiate Or Die!
  •  values, not policies, must be our message! (none)
    Steve M wrote: "I will guarantee you this: if the Dems don't settle on a unified message, if it ends up being the same old shotgun approach that "Roberts will outlaw abortion, birth control, favor corporations over people, destroy the environment, reverse the civil rights movement, etc." it's not going to get us anywhere. We need a straightforward argument that people can understand, and we can use in future elections."

    I couldn't agree more. We need to stop talking about talking about values, and start expressing them.

    Values which are not made explicit are at best pernicious, and at worst missing. And evident means thought, felt, lived, and expressed. Values should be so evident by some means of commonly understood expression that no one will have any doubts. That's honest values. Anything less can become a tool or weapon. What we act from but do not express is our hidden agenda, which is a power play or manipulation. To act out of values but to say 'I'll keep my values to myself'is manipulative at best, and at worst is a complex defensive mechanism to avoid any responsibility. I would rather deal with someone with no values than with someone who claims to be principled but I don't know how or what.

    Right now we have an interesting juxtaposition in our political and religious world. Those who are least certain of their values are acting most courageously with them, and it's because those who feel their values most strongly and centrally are acting like cowards.

  •  Roe v Wade is not the real issue, is not the X. (none)
    Roe v Wade is not the real issue.

    This the issue X:

    Individual right to manage their own rights on a daily bases. While the Republicans want to remove all personal rights so the corporation can regain their positions at the beginning of the 20th Century. You know when they had all the rights and we, the people, had none.

    Let not talk about Roe v Wade lost or found.

    What is at stake is every right an individual has being destroyed so the corporations are the only ones to whom the Republicans are accountable to.

    Rov v Wade is just a tree in the forest. We know how much the Republican and corporations value cut down trees for greed.

    Stay focused, else the Republicans will destroy all your rights.

  •  Easy to Say When You Don't Have a Uterus (4.00)
    It's really easy to sit back and say "yeah, if Roe v Wade goes down we have our issue for 2008" when you don't have a uterus of your own to worry about.

    Well, ** that. It's just wrong to say that our reproductive freedom is an acceptable casualty of the left vs right wars because some guy says so.

    You're playing with actual womens' lives here.

    And on some level, you're probably thinking, "well, even if it does happen, any girlfriend / wife / sister / cousin / friend of mine will still be able to have an abortion if god forbid she needs one."

    What about the women who aren't in your personal circle? Don't they matter too?

    •  Standing up for Voters (none)
      "The Democrats will defend Roe v. Wade" has been the selling point to women voters for decades.

      Women voters should have read the fine print:

      "except in cases where:

      • Dems do not have a majority in congress, in which case they can do nothing.

      • the GOP media machine might call Dems nasty names like "obstructionist".

      • Dems think it's strategically convenient to not stand up for your rights now in exchange for an unrealistic expectation of electoral victory later.
    •  I'm seeing a frightening parallel (none)
      And on some level, you're probably thinking, "well, even if it does happen, any girlfriend / wife / sister / cousin / friend of mine will still be able to have an abortion if god forbid she needs one."

      That's exactly the attitude all those so-called "moderate" Bush voters adopted in 2000 and 2004.  And that's why we're in this position today.

    •  Thank you (none)
      It is not just another issue for women.
  •  Good in terms of party politics, but.... (none)
    ...if Roe is overturned, women will die. Women will die.

    Women will die.

    How that could be considered a "good loss" is beyond me.

  •  On the side of Reality (none)
    I read both acbonin and Steve M's comments and found myself agreeing largely with both.  Many congratulations are in order for some clear thought and reasoned discourse.

    I don't have much to add, but would like just to sum up the situation as I see it. Sure Roberts is no liberal, What did you expect? He is obviouly qualified, bright, not wingnut extreme as far as one can tell (even if we disagree with much of his ideology) and will most certainly be confirmed. It will not be the end of the world. We are not in control. Deal with it. If you want to be angry with anyone, be angry with Kerry and the people who ran his campaign and the primary voters who fell for the media sponsored idea of his "electability" and those in the party who made sure we had no message and no coherent platform or ideas or solutions. This means you, Bob Schrum. This just points out the importance of winning elections and a 50 state strategy.

    Given a slim judicial record we have no idea at the current moment what his impact on the Court will be.  I think it's highly unlikely he will be another Scalia or Thomas. He's less ideological than Scalia and smarter than Thomas.  He might even become more of a Souter. Maybe a Kennedy. Who knows? He is a Republican, a corporatist and a conservative. Bush would have never nominated someone who wasn't. That does not mean he is the devil or Janice Rogers Brown or William Pryor.

    Mounting a filibuster or a protracted fight would be counterproductive and futile. Collapsing and letting him sail through is defeatist. A strong, long inquiry, exposing as much of his beliefs as possible is essential, but that is not the same either of those above options. In the end, he will be confirmed.

    There is political gain to be gotten from this. Not being obstructionist to a highly qualified if ideological differing nominee keeps our powder dry for a future, perhaps more polarizing nominee and prevents Rethugs from smearing us as "the party of no" while highlighting aspects of his positions we feel the public may not like provides us with fodder for future elections. Both are net gains, given the situation.

    Finally, this does point out that Bush has been weakened. He knows he couldn't sustain a long fight on someone more obviously reactionary. The important thing is to keep him weakened, and keep attention and pressure on the Rove/Plamegate scandal. It seems more than likely that there will be indictments, and that is when the blood will start to flow.  Too much energy wasted on Roberts and outrage at Rove will be blunted by accusations of rabid partisanship opposed to anything Bush stands for.  We need our knives sharp for the coming battles.

    Just wait.  Our day will come, but this isn't it.

    A liberal is a man so broadminded he wouldn't take his own side in an argument........Robert Frost

    by mjshep on Wed Jul 20, 2005 at 11:15:43 AM PDT

    •  Excellent. (none)
      Well said, sir (or madam.)

      The Times also had a great piece this morning about the difference between the Roberts temperament and the Scalia/Thomas temperament. All indicators point to Roberts not being an angry conservative who will go in, trash precedents and impose strict, narrow standards on federal questions. If you ask me, he looks a lot more like Kennedy than anybody else. Kennedy, for instance, may not be our ideal, but he hasn't been bad to us. He's a respectable kind of conservative who is polite and deferential to lawyers, and Roberts certainly appears to be of that mold.

      We can't make Bush look bad simply because he's named a conservative to the SCOTUS. We have to save that for the Owenses and the Browns. Mjshep is right; if you're looking for a scapegoat, make it Kerry or Shrum.

  •  What happened to that semi-hard-on? (none)
    Kos, what happened to that semi-hard-on you had for Sandy O'Connor?
  •  Why does everyone say O'Connor is a moderate? (none)
    She isn't, wasn't.  She was a conservative and more so than most people seem to realize.  O'Connor may be the best we can do under this administration, but if we ever take back Congress and the Presidency, we're going to have to set up a standard much more progressive than O'Connor.

    On another note, take a look at Clerks: The Blog for coverage of the nomination by real Supreme Court clerks.

  •  Reward for saving Cheney? (none)
    Cheney got off the hook over his secret Energy meetings, thanks to this nominee.

    Too personal a connection not to smell of corruption or, at least, appearance of conflict of interest.

  •  Right On..."It's the ( X ), Stupid! (none)
    It's tough being a liberal, the truth is always complicated, nuanced. The GOP can take "values" and turn them into simple soundbites that are difficult to react to. What passes for broadcast news these days like the simplicity, because they really don't do in-depth analysis on anything any more, with a few exceptions...add to that the fact that a whole lot of the public just doesn't take the time to inform themselves.

    Look:

    -No one really likes abortion.
    -People don't enjoy paying taxes.
    -Folks don't like seeing Old Glory being burnt.
    -Who cares about a little lizard vs that new dam.
    -After 9-11, we will give up some of those rights we never use anyway.

    -And of course "everyone" loves Jesus.

    These issues are just not that simple, darn-it...most people understand that. At least half of them. But the Cons have taken these complex problems and made them easy and feel-good...black and white...easily digestable...just change the the phase to make it poll better. And if all else fails...LIE.

    We on the left spend all our time going "Yeah, but..." We have ceded the initiative to the most radical group of wingnuts since, well, maybe EVER. We need to get back to "It's the Economy, Stupid"...or something like that.

    The news happens 3 hours sooner on the "left coast"

    by bleeding blue on Wed Jul 20, 2005 at 01:03:26 PM PDT

  •  Why surprised? (none)
    Please get it straight - Bush is a very real ultra conservative - don't you remember reading how he wanted to change social security when he first ran for the US House in the 80's.  He is not and will never be even the least pragmatic, and stop expecting him to be. He won't.

    I think Kos has hit the nail on the head.  Think how freaked many in the south were when Johnson got the Civil Rights Bill passed, when abortion was legalized and other "liberal issues".  Now, it's our turn to be freaked and to make issues of all of these things when going out to find the votes to return us to power.

    Also, to me, though I loved Clinton, he destroyed the power of the Democratic party.  Many of the undecideds definitely disliked his antics with Monica and were and are revulsed by them.  Clinton was a fool and his wife carries the same stigma in respect to national office.  New York is a weird beast and not typical of the rest of the USA and I know - I live in Brooklyn.

  •  The Right & Strategic Losses (none)
    I like the idea advanced in the subject post, and want to advance it a bit ... perhaps the term of art we're talking about is "strategic losses." To wit:

    The adoption of radical jihadist ideologies by the Republican party is, in the long term, a net gain for progressives. The average American, religious or not, still rates economic issues as their top concern, year after year, election cycle after mind-numbing election cycle. While I would encourage my fellow progressives to take the long, economic view - not just on this issue, but most - I'll acknowledge there will be much pain in the interim.

    Imagine a South, bible belt, corn belt, steel belt, etc. where the teaching of evolution is illegal, as is abortion and homosexuality and dissent against state government pronouncements on religion etc. What type of economic activity would be possible in such climates? Very little - imagine a chamber of commerce trying to lure a biotech firm, but having to admit that none of the state's graduates are familiar with biology because, well, evolution.

    Or take entertainment, or technology - fields that represent a large part of the future of the American economy, and rely completely on "cultural creatives" for innovation etc. It's been well documented in sociological studies that cultures that tolerate and welcome homosexuals - as a symbol of a broader tolerance in the marketplace of ideas, strength in diversity blah blah blah - also enjoy the greatest economic diversity and growth.

    What the "religious right" is doing is condemning itself to a long-term obsolescence; we need to see the current malaise for what it is: an opportunity for the left to incur strategically valuable losses.  

    The value in these losses will be the backlash in our direction,  all because of the desperate over-reaching of a dying idea. By losing some short-term tactical battles to the Right, we are ensuring longer-term strategic victories for the Left.

    Remember, just 100 years ago, the industrialist dictators ruled the land; workers were shot in the streets - here in the US of A - for daring to organize for concessions. The huddled masses were not only miserable, but rose up and created the New Deal in response. We enjoyed 60 years of dominance, and are now nearing the end of a 10-year blip of fascist backlash. We will win, not just because most Americans are moderately progressive, but because the right knows it can't win in a fair fight. Bush has three years to stack the courts, eviscerate labor and environmental laws,  isolate the U.S. and otherwise try to shoot the moon. When he's gone, I predict we will begin the next era of progressive dominance.

    I am the federal government.

    by mateosf on Wed Jul 20, 2005 at 08:20:16 PM PDT

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