Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Is he really not conservative enough?

Conservative Group Pulls Roberts Support

A conservative group in Virginia said Tuesday it was withdrawing its support for Supreme Court nominee John Roberts' confirmation because of his work helping overturn a Colorado referendum on gays.
For clear insight, I recommend reading Emily's entry "Congressional Stupidity Run Amok" at her blog You're Probably Stupid. As a law school grad (she recently took the bar but hasn't said if she passed), she explained it pretty well: Roberts did pro bono work for a "gay group," six hours total.

I, for one, can respect an attorney who can put aside his personal beliefs and represent his clients. In this case, agree or disagree, Roberts represented them very well. Does this mean Roberts is a closet liberal like Souter? Who can say? This ambiguous issue shouldn't be enough to give or withdraw support.

6 Comments:

Blogger Mike said...

I'm not a lawyer, but isn't pro bono work usually done for something you believe in/people you are friendly with? After all, they aren't really "clients" since he's doing the work for free.

Just something else to think about...

Wednesday, August 10, 2005 1:48:00 AM  
Anonymous ScottM said...

Mike

I might go a little far afield here, but I wanted you to understand my thinking. The case the Roberts put 6 hours into is a complex one. Basically, Colorado passed a state constitutional amendment that "prohibited all legislative, executive, and judicial action designed to protect homosexual persons from discrimination" and he worked to oppose this amendment.

Now, Roberts is no judicial activist; he has argued that he believes jurists should work from precedent. However, there are bad laws, and this (I think) was one of them, simply because it was to broad. I have no trouble allowing private individuals to discriminate in their private and business lives (i.e. a boss of a private company firing someone for any reasons), but my reading of the amendment seems to go much further: it seems to even protect the state government, and this I have trouble with.

Even as a pro-market quasi-conservative I still believe that governments do not have the right to discriminate on issues outside of job competence and treatment of fellow employees. These beaurues, courts and other entities operate in "neutral territory" and if one public official is allowed to fire a person because the employee is gay and that offends the manager's personal morality, another public official might fire a person because they are Christian or a Republican and that offend their personal morality.

Finally, Justice Kennedy threw out the amendment because it violated the "equal protection clause" of the constitution. A clause that forbade governments (originally courts) from discriminating on things such as homosexuality. But, I think extending it to all government agencies is not perverting the intention of the law.

Roberts seems like a good candidate. I might support him, but I will have to do more reading. One thing that does please me about him is that he is getting attacked by the whack activists of the far-right and the far-left (NARAL)*

*The far-right, while I think is mistaken, has it's objections supported by facts; the far-left (NARAL), in their usual "win at any cost" strategy, has (IMO) slandered Roberts.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005 1:05:00 PM  
Blogger TKC said...

This bug me more:
http://noleftturns.ashbrook.org/default.asp?archiveID=7200

I'm the same TKC in the comment on that post. Sure, it is 'somebody elses' view of Roberts but if it is accurate then I'm not exactly pleased.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005 7:34:00 PM  
Blogger Perry Eidelbus said...

Scott, you have it exactly right. It's the same reason that the ACLU assisted neo-Nazis in Skokie. You may disagree ideologically with someone, but ultimately you're fighting a matter of law, not necessarily arguing for a cause you disagree with. I think marijuana use is legal, and states might (I'm still not sure either way) have the authority to regulate it. Regardless, I will argue against federal laws outlawing marijuana use within state jurisdictions.

Issues 2000 has an interesting quote: "I think the standard phase is 'zealous advocacy' on behalf of a client. You don't make any conceivable argument. The argument has to have a reasonable basis in law, but it certainly doesn't have to be a winner. I've lost enough cases that I would hate to be held to that standard. But if it's an argument that has a reasonable basis in the law, including arguments concerning the extension of precedent and the reversal of precedent-the lawyer is ethically bound to present that argument on behalf of the client. And there is a longstanding tradition in our country, dating back to one of the more famous episodes, of course, being John Adams' representation of the British soldiers involved in the Boston Massacre, that the positions a lawyer presents on behalf of a client should not be ascribed to that lawyer as his personal beliefs or his personal positions."

John Adams is an excellent example. He sacrificed his personal feelings so that justice could be served, as much as he hated redcoats (even had those particular British been guilty of other crimes). Adams was so worried that getting them acquitted would make him a pariah among independence-leaning colonials, but it actually won him a great deal of respect.

I'm still reserving judgment on Roberts. I need to read more about what he's really said, not just pithy quotes. It does encourage me that NARAL is putting out such outrageous lies -- the guy can't be all bad.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005 10:12:00 PM  
Blogger Mike said...

Thanks for educating me, guys.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005 10:33:00 PM  
Blogger Perry Eidelbus said...

And thanks for doing the same for us, Mike. Blogging works both ways.

Thursday, August 11, 2005 12:32:00 AM  

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