"You have an amazing knowledge of the law," said Sen. Charles Schumer, D-NY., who has been one of Roberts' most persistent interrogators on the Senate Judiciary Committee. "You may very well possess the most powerful intellect of any person to come before the Senate for this position."True? False? I don't know. I don't care.
I bit my gum in frustration while reading this story, taking only partial consolation from the knowledge that not everyone is so baffled about John Roberts as the Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee.
"All evidence suggests that Judge Roberts would use his undeniably impressive legal skills to bring us back to a country most of us would not recognize, where states' rights trump civil rights and where the federal courts or Congress can see race or gender discrimination but are powerless to remedy it," said Wade Henderson, executive directory of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights.
Also, this just in: sometimes the law is an ass!
From the same issue of the Chronicle, letters to the editor:
"In virtually every photo-op, Judge John Roberts displays his trademark compressed-lip smile. I can't decide whether they've been buttoned, zipped, or sealed, but it doesn't much matter. The only thing Roberts seems willing to reveal to us is an impressive knowledge of -- and unflinching reverence for -- the law.
Of course, that's commendable, but what interests me more is how he'll respond in those instances when justice and the law are at odds. When the law reveals itself to be an ass, and our elected politicians are too craven to challenge it, we rely on the judiciary to step up and honor justice. Those are the moments that define our progress as a civil society."
Is it too late for us to relay some of these sentiments to our senators-of-choice and ask them to vote against Roberts? Yes, we all know he's going to be confirmed, anyway. But the Democrats really have nothing to lose on the issue by standing up for social justice and common sense.
* * *
Martin Scorsese's No Direction Home will air on PBS's American Masters Series September 26-27.