Readers share their thoughts on Supreme Court nominee John Roberts' reputation, haircut and likely effect on the court.

Published July 21, 2005 8:00AM (EDT)

[Read "'Sterling' Judge or 'Extreme Rightist'?" compiled by Page Rockwell and Aaron Kinney.]

I am a solid Democrat, but some of this commentary from the left is getting to be ridiculous. The fact is, we lost the presidential election. The consequence of that loss is that a conservative president gets to nominate a judge to the Supreme Court. Did we really think that he would pick someone who has views that run against his own?

The Constitution gives the president the power to appoint judges to the Supreme Court. That his chosen nominee is respected, is competent and has views in the mainstream of the right (what else would you expect from a conservative president?) should be enough to confirm him without wasting political ammunition. Let's make sure that his reputation is what everybody says it is, and roll him on through. We should get this over quickly and concentrate on regaining power in the next election cycle.

After all, the Supreme Court was set up to be apolitical, without the political pressures of the other two branches. Justices change their views. Sandra Day O'Connor was appointed by a conservative -- and look how she turned out: She is now our "model" justice. Who knows how this nominee will turn out when he is put in an environment free of political pressures and legal clients. Best to view this for what it is: a crapshoot for both parties. Let's not waste resources playing craps. Be content that John Roberts appears to be competent and well respected, and don't let Bush draw us into an unnecessary battle that we are almost guaranteed to lose.

-- Brian Ratliff

Brian C. Anderson, senior editor of the Manhattan Institute's City Journal, is quoted as stating that Judge Roberts "would be a justice in the mold of Clarence Thomas and will not read into the Constitution things that aren't there -- gay marriage, a right to partial-birth abortion, etc."

This is the exact opposite of the concept of constitutional liberty, as clearly intended by Jefferson and the Founding Fathers of our country -- the point is that what is not directly proscribed is fully within our rights as Americans, as long as it does not break the law. Are driving laws unconstitutional because there is no right to drive in the document?

We do need judges who will strictly interpret the Constitution, and not put limitations on our freedom that that estimable document does not contain. So-called conservatives have this exactly backwards.

-- Dave Scheff

My first wish is that the Democrats in the Senate confirm Roberts quickly, without much fuss, so our ADD media can get back to the Fitzgerald investigation that day by day threatens the permanent Republican majority in Washington far more effectively than the Democratic Party is capable of. It's taken five fucking years for the media to stop playing stenographer and start acting like real reporters. A divisive partisan bitchfest over the Roberts nomination will only take the attention and focus away from the fact that the executive branch is filled with inveterate liars and criminals. Roberts is as good as it's going to get if you're a liberal, and you can't just keep filibustering until 2009.

As far as the pro-choice crowd's calculated outrage goes, I'd sooner expect Ralph Nader to get laid before the SCOTUS overturns Roe vs. Wade. Assuming Bush can get a pro-lifer to replace William Rehnquist, and assuming Roberts is a committed pro-lifer as well, it's still 5-4 to affirm that decision.

As it is, the status quo on abortion is used by both lobbying forces to exploit and rally their base for electoral advantage: The Christian Coalition constantly tantalizes the fundies with hopes of overturning it, and the pro-abortion crowd has to constantly invoke the fear that women's reproductive rights are in jeopardy. And each side gets to blame the insidious forces of the opposition for why the status quo never changes. It's a ruse, and a brilliant one at that. Go ahead and get your panties in a wad over Roberts, all ye susceptible to fear-mongering. Nothing is going to change. If you ask me, focusing the media spotlight on the Fitzgerald investigation is far more important than a futile attempt to scuttle the Roberts nomination.

-- Daniel Dotson

The nomination of a stealth candidate is unlikely to knock Karl Rove and Plamegate off the radar. And the American people do not want an extremist in any form; the selection of someone who by all appearances is one will hurt the Republicans. The problem is that I will be 70 by the time he is likely to step down, and America will be the worse for the right-wing ownership of all levels of government.

-- James Buchanan

Please, please immediately remove the guy's photo from your front page. Seeing the mug of this Stepford-style toe-the-party-line a--hole with the standard bad GOP haircut (assuming the Democrats bend over again and let this regressive jerk take a seat on the Supreme Court -- only because it could have been worse) is really, really unpleasant and jarring. Maybe we will pull it out, but it's not looking good. Could you at least ditch the guy's photo? Maybe just give the facts, links to petitions or whatever?

-- Lowell Bennett

Oh, wow! He's Frank Burns! Does anybody else out there see the remarkable resemblance of John Roberts to Frank Burns (from the TV show "M.A.S.H.")? I can't help assuming the worst, based on Burns' character traits (reactionary, authoritarian, self-interested, sycophantic, not very bright). I can only hope the similarity is purely superficial, because there seems to be no stopping Bush and the Republican Congress.

-- Allison Hart

By Salon Staff

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