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Saturday, September 17, 2005

If This Is The Case For No....

E.J. Dionne wrote a Washington Post column purporting to make the case for why Roberts should not be confirmed:
Durbin wanted to know where Roberts's deepest commitments, his "core values," lay. Were there some causes to which Roberts would simply not offer his "legal skills" -- amply demonstrated in his life, and again this week -- as a matter of principle?

Roberts suggested there really were no such limits, or, at least, he wouldn't tell us what they were. "I've been on both sides of this affirmative action issue," he said cheerfully. Yes, but you can't be on both sides as chief justice. He fought the idea that his view of the lawyer's role "sounds like you're a hired gun," but that is exactly how it sounds. A chief justice is hired on behalf of all of us.
If this is the best argument against Roberts, it is rather obvious that he should be confirmed. I sit here wondering if Dionne is extremely partisan or if he is actually ignorant. For one thing, there is quite a difference between the job of a judge and a lawyer. A lawyer is supposed to make the best legal argument available on his client's behalf. A judge is supposed to decide between the two different arguments in a case based on the law. Roberts has been both a lawyer and a judge, and obviously grasps the distinction.

Either Dionne doesn't want cases decided on the basis of the law, or he doesn't believe they are decided that way. If cases aren't being decided on the basis of the law, surely the best thing to do is to nominate a judge who will do that? If cases are being decided on the basis of the law, then what's the problem?

Perhaps Dionne believes that judges should not rule on cases based on the law, but rather on the basis of their own beliefs. Then why bother to pass laws? Why would we even need Congress? Why wouldn't we just dispense with it and have direct election for the offices of judges and president? Any way you look at it, the argument that Dionne is making is laughable and violates the fundamentals of the Constitution.

Dionne's implication that lawyers shouldn't represent certain clients would defeat the principle behind the Sixth Amendment's guarantee of counsel in criminal cases. And above and beyond criminal cases, there is a basic proposition in our legal system that everyone is entitled access to the courts on an equal basis. If lawyers don't argue cases for clients without judging them first, how is that principle to be defended?

The American people don't agree with Dionne's ideas. Polls have been running in strongly in favor for Roberts to be confirmed. Gallup's latest poll published on the 15th showed the public favoring confirmation by a 6 to 1 margin, with almost 60% of the public for confirmation, 30% with no opinion, and 10% against confirmation. I guess the ten percent pretty much identifies the proportion of our population which is hard left (see this earlier Rasmussen poll).

Polling Report has a roundup of the polls from various organizations. They all favor his confirmation. If it were up to the people to vote, Roberts would win. What's even more notable is that in the 9-9/13 CBS News/NY Times poll, 13 % of Democrats thought Roberts should be confirmed, 14% of Democrats thought he shouldn't be confirmed, and 70% were were unsure, and 21% of Independents wanted him to be confirmed while 7% thought he shouldn't be.

I don't think the hearings last week went against Roberts at all, so Gallup's numbers don't surprise me. They are very close to these numbers from an ABC News Poll released July 22. That survey showed that 53% of the public thought senators should confirm Roberts if he were qualified but they didn't agree with his "judicial philosophy", while only 41% thought senators should vote against his confirmation if they didn't agree with his judicial philosophy. This doesn't surprise me.

Democrats who seem intent upon ignoring the Constitution do surprise me.

Update: A lot of people are rather shocked at the recent political developments. Polipundits' Drummond writes:
...it couldn’t happen to a more deserving U.S. political party which used to represent bold thinking and freedom, and now only can manage gross insinuation, which used to defend the American tradition and now mocks it, which used to dominate the government and now barely manages to have a few sound-bites after the Republican leadership speaks.


Comments:
Hey there great to see your blog again. I have enjoyed getting back into the loop with reading your writing. I used to do bayouranter that you were so nice to post to on the side. Had to come to a dramatic stop after I lost my computer and everything elsed I owned in a fire as well as two other personal crisis. Not having reliable access to a computer for about 6 months I had no choice to stop. But now I feel compelled to get back in. Come visit my new blog at postkatrinalouisiana.blogspot.com. Keep up the good work
 
I'm so glad you're alive! It's also nice to see you blogging.

It will be very interesting to get your take on the ins and outs of this. I'll get your new blog back linked tomorrow.
 
just a point on the math. 6 to 1 is 84% for confirmation, not 60%. there is a 3 to 2 margin for wanting confrimation.
 
No Dingo. It was 6 to 1 for confirmation with 60% for, 10% against, and 30% with no opinion. If it were an election, the 30% wouldn't have voted on the issue, giving Roberts a 6 to 1 ratio.

I doubt 30% of our population worries about SC appointments at all. I would think the no opinion number is probably higher, which is why I hunted up some other polls. They all showed at least twice as many people approving the nomination as disapproving it.

Timing does make a difference on these polls, though.
 
60% to 10% doesn't make 6 to 1. When you use a # to # ratio, you have to have 100%. 6 to 1 means there are only 7 people being asked the question. But there are a minimum of 10 respondants. You have to include the "no opinon" people.

e.g If you are making a cake, and it calls for 6 to 1 flour to sugar, that means 84% flour and 16% sugar. 6 to 1 means it is 6 parts flour out of a total 7 part, but the 7 parts is 100% of the total parts.

You would have to represent the survey as 6 to 3 to 1, thus making 100%. Which is 3 out of 5 people wanting him to be approved.

I am not trying to dispute that most people want him approved. I am just letting you know the math error.
 
The approve/disapprove ratio is 6/1.

It's also correct to say that approximately 60% of Americans want him confirmed.

If an election were held, it would be 84% for Roberts (if Gallup is right).
 
Yes, it is a 6/1 approval/ disapproval ratio. but to say:

"favoring confirmation by a 6 to 1 margin"

you have to say you are dropping the 30% "no opinion" people. That was not (at least to me) evident in your original post. Otherwise it is favoring confirmation by a 6 to 4 margin.

This was not about me not liking him. I don't, really support him, but I'm not really against him either. I am still a little hesitant about his views of civil rights and women, but he is definitely qualified. So, like him or dislike him, he should be confirmed.

I also replied on Siggys blog to your comment. I think you were reading me wrong on that one.
 
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