September 2, 2005

Lawprofs opposed to John Roberts.

Here's the letter.

12 comments:

Paul said...

At this moment, 3:08pm est., the site was down. What did you do?

Eddie said...

Site was unavailable for me as well. However, since I am in the peanut gallery, I will say this:

I can't believe a professor in Academia would ever protest a conservative Supreme Court Nomination. For the Love of God!
:)

Ann Althouse said...

Try again. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't.

Robert said...

Pretty lame letter. It boils down to "this guy believes in Republican principles and conservative values, and we don't like that!" OK, but boo hoo. Surprisingly, George Bush doesn't nominate who George McGovern would nominate.

These folks are basically objecting to democracy.

Ann Althouse said...

Robert: Another way to put it, though, is that these lawprofs believe that the way liberal judges interpret the Constitution is correct. If Judge Roberts doesn't agree, for example, that there is a right to abortion, then he isn't a good judge, and he shouldn't sit on the Court. No democracy is appropriate. Judges must interpret the Constitution and protect the people from the excesses of democracy.

Robert said...

Judges are a shield against excessive democracy, such as when a majority decides to take away the bona fide Constitutional rights of a minority (say, slavery).

But democracy as a system is not subject to judicial review. It's fine that these lawprofs think the liberal school of thought is the correct school of thought. But if the American people decide that it isn't, and direct their government to make the appropriate personnel changes in the judiciary, then that's that. There isn't an objective One True Path that only one party has been able to discern; there are lots of competing views as to how we ought to do things. Politics - democracy - decides which of those views wins out.

In other words, the populace can't legitimately say "Jews don't get free speech rights." Judges can and should stop that. But the populace can legitimately say that we want a judiciary that takes a narrowly tailored view of the 1st Amendment's guarantee of free speech. And arguing against judicial candidates on the grounds that their narrowly tailored view is wrong is of course acceptable - but its a partisan argument, not one that is morally compelling.

Menlo Bob said...

What a hoot. These law profs with their superior knowledge release a statement that few can read because the site has exceeded it's allocated data transfer. Their technological incompetence is telling.

Ruth Anne Adams said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ann Althouse said...

Ruth Anne: I've had tenure since 1989. I also have an endowed chair. I'm the Arthur-Bascom Professor of Law here. I have a pretty secure job. I don't feel any political pressure. Maybe a little social pressure -- that's all.

QitAll said...

Frankly as a letter with all of that brain power on it, you think they would have been embarassed to sign it.

This was a great opportunity for the opposition to present some substantive legal arguments about what the role of judges should be (particularly supreme court justices), and why Roberts was correct or incorrect based on precedent. Who would have thought that all these great legal minds would write in talking points rather than legal briefs. In fact their opposition letter is more appropriately suited to a Rep said/Dem said talk show. Perhaps that is their goal? Perhaps they are simply frustrated media want to be's who prefer popping on the news to spout talking points rather than actually analyzing pecedent, teaching law and writing notes. Now all those in radio and TV land have a list of who to call in when they need someone with a great title, a known anti-Roberts viewpoint and an ability to speak in rehetoric rather than substance.

Menlo Bob said...

A Chicago Tribune article last Sunday about Roberts by an Iowa law professor, ran along the lines of objecting to Roberts because he was a Washington insider. Of course Robert's conservatism enhanced evils previously thought to be mere certification of acceptability. Consistency being of no help to the Iowa prof. No telling what one might find while scraping the bottom of the barrel.

Yevgeny Vilensky said...

Chemerinsky, one of the most duplicitous and partisan hacks teaching in a major law school (on par with Bruce Ackerman), instigated this. What I am really bothered by in this letter is that with a straight face (well, figuratively), they can claim allegiance to "civil rights" AND severe government imposition on the right to property. Isn't the right to property a pretty fundamental right of human beings? Perhaps just a tad more important than equal pay for equal work? And if those law professors do not think so, then maybe they're the ones out of the mainstream. Last I checked most Americans still believe in property rights and our government was squarely in the Lockean tradition.