Wednesday, July 20, 2005

BBC NEWS | Americas | Bush judge comes under spotlight

By sheer coincidence, I was reading some stuff for my upcoming semester's Comparative Legal Tradition (I'm actually excited about it, but considering that it's up against other topics like Equities & Trusts or Property Law or Company Law, I don't think I'm the only person) and the manner in which it describes the American legal system was basically one of 51 jurisdictions (50 states and 1 Federal). Apparently as a result, American lawyers are very well versed in resolving conflicts in foreign law (*ahem* out of state law) or to take advantages of various laws (apparently Loiusianna has easy paperwork on formations of companies).

Anyway, the interesting thing about the entire nomination is how much of a blank slate Justice Roberts is. Having been appointed to appeals court 2 years ago, according to the BBC, he "has given few clues to his likely stance on divisive issues that may come before the Supreme Court."

Given that Bush is often 'misunderestimated' it immediately raises the question of what does he know that we do not. After all, to be honest, he's placed in a position whereby the situation is so polarised and the issues so divisive, that any gains to one side will be taken as a loss by the other. So regardless of what he does, he's either going to piss off the Liberals or the Conservatives.

Which really makes Justice Roberts such an interesting choice. Theoratically he could play himself as a moderate and a compromise to the extent that he might actually garner enough support from both Republicans and Democrats. And since confirmation is a one time process, it really doesn't matter what he says before the Senate Committee, once he's in, he's in and free to decide as he should choose.

After all, in a previous post I pointed out why a conservative may not be socially conservative. Furthermore, let's not forget that some of the most 'liberal' judges were thought of as Conservative and had been appointed by conservative Republican Presidents. Judges are their own people and it's beyond the ken of mortal men to figure out how they would judge should a novel case come before them.

Let's hope that the Republicans and Democrats can come to a good decision without politics poisoning it too much. But in todays environment that's like hoping the moon is made of blue cheese.



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