Since President Bush’s nomination of John Roberts to the Supreme Court, Ann Coulter has held out for evidence to prove his bona fides as some kind of a conservative. Her condemnation of Judge Roberts as “Souter in Roberts’ clothing” seemed a bit of a stretch, but not entirely implausible.
One of the marks in Judge Roberts’s favor as a Supreme Court nominee in the eyes of President Bush was clearly the difficulty the left would have in discrediting him, a difficulty that is in part a function of Judge Roberts’s great discretion. I also think that another mark in Judge Roberts’s favor as a Supreme Court nominee in the eyes of President Bush is Judge Roberts’s solidly conservative views.
Might Coulter be providing Roberts some cover on his right flank? In her column today, Coulter seems to me to give the game away. She abandons any pretense of evidence to support her assertion that Souter was a “dream nominee” compared to Judge Roberts. Now she is content to rest her argument on the observation that Judge Roberts “says he respects ‘precedent.’”
This is a formulation, however, that Judge Roberts and other qualified conservative appellate court nominees have used to describe their attitude to Supreme Court precedent. It means precisely nothing with respect to Judge Roberts’s (or anyone else’s) views of the binding strength of Supreme Court decisions on prospective members of the Court, as Coulter well knows.
I love Ann Coulter, but when you read her columns about John Roberts, think “When Harry Met Sally.”
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