Democrats are in a tricky spot. Judge Roberts seems destined for confirmation with no real suspense. Opposition could seem like mere political obstructionism. That reality is made more depressing the more we learn about his views. Today's news brings this:
Referring to a Supreme Court ruling issued earlier that year that struck down an Alabama school prayer law, he said, "The conclusion ... that the Constitution prohibits such a moment of silent reflection - or even silent `prayer' - seems indefensible."and this:
The Alabama law, ruled unconstitutional by a divided court, mandated a one-minute period of silence for meditation or prayer.
As an assistant White House counsel in 1984, John Roberts scoffed at the notion that men and women should earn equal pay in jobs of comparable importance, and he belittled three female Republican members of Congress who promoted that idea to the Reagan administration.Here's the problem: if Democrats go along with the widespread public impression that Roberts represents a centrist, moderate view, that opens up the chance for Bush to nominate a more egregiously right-wing justice at the next opportunity. The solution must be a united Democratic front. Painting Roberts honestly as a Rehnquist conservative with many views outside the mainstream is a necessity. As such, the job mustn't be left only to Senators Kennedy, Shumer and Boxer. The campaign at hand is not to defeat Roberts' nomination--that seems impossible. The purpose is to present him as a replacement for Rehnquist, which he is. Then the message going forward can be clear: we still await Bush's replacememnt for Justice O'Connor.