Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Did Roberts Fudge with Specter?

National Review Online has an article by Edward Whelan which says that John Roberts applied a good deal of deft linguistic judo in dealing with Sen. Arlen Specter at his confirmation hearing. Whelan, president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, Washington, D. C. said that Roberts out-foxed Specter in response to the Senator’s question as to what it would take to overrule Roe v. Wade. Specter suggested that the stare decisis would have to be super in order to be overrule. Roberts confirmed it but added also that there would be two successive hurdles to overcome. First there would be Planned Parenthood v. Casey on whether or not to re-visit Roe and then the precedent in Roe, modified by Casey, on what abortion regulations are allowable as well as the standard of review to be applied to them. “Roberts’ phrasing cleverly obscured the point that it is far easier to go over two hurdles in succession than over a wall that is the height of the two hurdles combined.”

All right if you say so, Whelan. But as for me, I’d sure prefer a jurist giving flat-out answers. Yeah-yeah, I know Bork did and didn’t get confirmed but I hope the pro-life strength in the Senate gets to the point someday that people up for confirmation to lifetime appointments can say what they mean flatly without playing games. Often when our guys tell us with a wink and nod that they’re playing games, we learn the games have been played on us.

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