Fair and balanced

Reaction to Judge Roberts’ appointment from liberal bloggers hasn’t been all negative. David Schraub at the Debate Link has written a good piece. I’ve come across a few other fair-minded ones that I’ll link to later on if I find the time.
UPDATE: The excellent blog Southern Appeal links to several other liberal bloggers who have thus far taken a moderate position on Roberts. Legal Fiction is one. Another is L-cubed.
Less reasonable, it seems to me, is Ann Coulter’s complaint reported by Drudge that Roberts may not really be a conservative. Coulter cites the Souter debacle. But Souter was an unknown from New Hampshire whose conversatism was vouched for by John Sununu (conservative, but a politician, not an active lawyer) and Warren Rudman (not even a conservative). Roberts has been a player in Washington legal circles, including actively conservative ones, for more than two decades. And he has worked side-by-side with many of the leading conservative lawyers in D.C. in one or more Republican administrations. To my knowledge, none has a bad word to say about him. The fact that fair-minded liberals also respect him shouldn’t be considered a negative. (Maybe Roberts talked to them because he felt he “must”).
Roberts may not be as conservative as a few who reportedly were on Bush’s list. And a longer track record as a judge would have been nice. But it’s unfair to suggest that Roberts is or will be anything like Souter. A comparison to Rehnquist would be far more apt. Indeed, while Coulter contends that “stealth” nominees “never” work out, I don’t recall Rehnquist, plucked by Nixon from the Justice Department, having a more substantial track record than Roberts can point to.
JOHN adds: Ann is just wrong about this one. Frankly, it’s hard to believe she’s serious. Calling John Roberts a “stealth” candidate is ridiculous; he has been on everyone’s short list of preferred conservatives, along with Michael Luttig and Michael McConnell, for a long time. When David Souter was nominated, we–and conservatives everywhere–said, “David who?” When Roberts was nominated, we broke out the bubbly. Ann occasionally goes a bit overboard, but I can’t remember a time when she has been this totally misguided, and, as I said, I have a hard time believing she’s serious. Maybe, as Roger Simon suggests, it’s triangulation.


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