The recent Judiciary Committee hearings on the appointment of Judge John Roberts to Chief Justice of the Supreme Court left little doubt how desperate pro-abortion politicians are to hold on to their precious abortion rights. The usual suspects were there, grilling Roberts like a rib-eye steak; Ted Kennedy, Joe Biden, Diane Feinstein, and Chuck Schumer all praising Roberts for his brilliant legal mind, while pistol-whipping him to elicit the slightest betrayal of his position on abortion. With Darrowesque deftness, he rebuffed each attempt, refusing to reveal how he would rule on a case pending before the court. Even Arlen Specter, who just the day before promised he would not ask how Roberts would vote on Roe V. Wade, jumped out of the starting gate with question after question aimed at determining how Roberts would vote on Roe V. Wade.
Reading between the lines of Roberts’ skillful answers, several things were clear. First, Roberts is very conscious about not wanting to appear to be an ideologue. He stated clearly that he would not bring his personal opinions, only his legal opinions to the bench. That, of course, did not satisfy the Bidens and Kennedys, who wanted an ironclad guarantee that he would bring THEIR opinions to the bench.
Second, Roberts indicated that he would respect precedent, but that precedent was a starting point in reviewing cases before the court. His responses made it clear that precedent was no sacred cow and that there were factors which could erode or change the circumstances determining how precedent is applied. Roberts, in essence, was leaving the barn door open for future challenges to Roe V. Wade. But the burden will clearly be on the challengers.
Third, Roberts is a dedicated servant of the U.S. Constitution and the rule of law. He has no political agenda. He left no doubt that he would strictly interpret the Constitution and not legislate from the bench. The only question that remains is how he will apply these to any future cases on abortion and other life issues. The answer is, we don’t know. Our opinion is that the right to life is fundamental and foundational to our Constitution. If John Roberts is a true strict constructionist, he will uphold that opinion in his rulings. Time will tell.
from The Pro-Life Reporter, Fall 2005
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