Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Abortion and Federalists and Privilege--Oh My!!

Now that the Lefties are really starting to rant, it's time to take another look at their latest efforts to derail the Roberts' SCOTUS nomination. So far, I would have to give them a B+ for effort, but a C- for results...

What have we really got so far? Not much. First, Roberts helped write anti-abortion briefs as an attorney. OK, you can write briefs for lots of things, including things you don't personally agree with. Moreover, even if your personal feelings run in one direction, it doesn't mean that a thinking, rational person can't decide, as a judge, to put his or her personal feelings aside and rule with whatever he or she concludes the law is (not should be).

Second, Roberts is listed in the "Federalist Society Lawyers' Division Leadership Directory, 1997-1998," but claims to have no memory of ever having been in the Federalist Society, let alone having been in leadership. This is considered highly suspicious by the Left, and Nan Aron, the President of Alliance for Justice, thinks "the Senate needs to go behind the glowing accounts of Roberts's record to figure out what he really thinks and what he really did." Just a thought on this...I once joined the Federalist Society while I was in law school...um, well, or at least I attended a few meetings, and I might have filled out a form to join, or I might not have. So I can tell you, without equivocation, that if you asked me if I was a member of the Federalist Society, I would have to say I have no memory of actually having been in the Federalist Society, though I attended Federalist Society functions, just like Judge Roberts did.

"But how could he be in leadership and not remember?" Well, when I was in a large firm (similar to Hogan & Hartson), a partner took me aside and suggested I get involved in some boards in the community, get some "name recognition" for the future. Often this involved nothing more than being at the right party or function and having somebody say, "Hey, you would be a great addition to XYZ ... would that be OK? We might occasionally want a bit of legal advice." I would say OK and often would get a little ink saying I had joined the board of XYZ charity. Sometimes I would wind up with an active role, sometimes I would never hear from them again. Although Roberts is listed in a "leadership" directory, being on the "steering committee" is, I would guess, a pretty honorary position--and probably he got listed by handing somebody a business card at a luncheon and promptly forgetting the conversation.

Lastly, Patrick Leahy is already throwing a tantrum about the fact that certain documents prepared by Roberts or connected to his work for the first Bush Administration are privileged. "'If the White House announcement is intended to begin a dialogue about documents, I welcome it,' said Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, the top Judiciary Democrat. 'If it is intended to unilaterally pre-empt a discussion about documents the Senate may need and is entitled to, then this is a regrettable beginning.'" Now, lest you think that the White House is not giving the committee any documents, be aware that 75,000 documents have been supplied, and more are on the way.

Moreover, although the Democrats will take the position that this is somehow Roberts' way of hiding the ball, the attorney-client privilege is not his to waive...the privilege belongs to the client, not the attorney, and it would be inappropriate and unwise for the current Bush Administration to waive the privilege of the former Bush administration and turn over the legal thoughts and strategies of the past Republican administration to the very people who oppose them...the Lefties of NOW, the ACLU, the PFAW, and Planned Parenthood, among others.
(Just by-the-by, although some folks think Arlen Specter is "on board" with this nomination, he is one of the voices expressing concern over getting more documents for the Dems to pore over.)

In sum, there's a lot of smoke so far, not a lot of heat. More as this develops further.

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