Some tiny creature, mad with wrath,

Is coming nearer on the path.

--Edward Gorey

Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S. Outlying Islands

Writer, lawyer, cyclist, rock climber, wanderer of dark residential streets, friend.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Slate Sounds Off

Law Geek Ingenue Dahlia Lithwick, Law Prof Viet Dinh, and Slate Publisher and former clerk to Justice John Paul Stevens Cliff Sloan take turns considering, from three very different perspectives, the implications of the Roberts nomination in a delightful colloquy. So far, there are two parts.

Here's my favorite quote (predictably, from (Oh) Dahlia(!)), regarding Roberts' by-now infamous footnote in the SG brief in Rust v. Sullivan calling for the overturning of Roe v. Wade:

In general, I tend to agree with Roberts, who—in consummate lawyerly fashion—has defended his footnote with a subsequent footnote, in a 1994 law review article. There Roberts said that "[the author's] views as a commentator … do not necessarily reflect his views as an advocate for his former client, the United States." If every lawyer were held to defend every appalling statement she makes on behalf of a client, the profession would be a mass of schizophrenic head-cases. Lawyers argue for clients, not themselves, and lawyers' views evolve over time. Roberts noted in his last confirmation hearing that Roe is still the law of the land. That statement should not be dismissed lightly.

But there is still something creepy about the zealousness of that Roberts' footnote. His call to go so far as to overturn Roe leaps beyond the question in the case and well into the realm of ideological advocacy.

Tell you what. I'm not happy the GOP gets to choose the newest member of the Court, and even less happy that Bush is the spearhead on this particular GOP prerogative. But I'm happy as a pig in shit to watch the confirmation unfold for the first time since I was still a teenager quasi-Republican who thought he was going to get an engineering degree as a short stop on his way to Crichton-esque career writing techno-thrillers for the masses. I know, I know. I wouldn't care much for my 20-year-old self either.


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