The NYT Editorial Board comes out against confirming Roberts:

If he is confirmed, we think there is a chance Mr. Roberts could be a superb chief justice. But it is a risk. We might be reluctant to roll the dice even for a nomination for associate justice, but for a nomination for a chief justice – particularly one who could serve 30 or more years – the stakes are simply too high. Senators should vote against Mr. Roberts not because they know he does not have the qualities to be an excellent chief justice, but because he has not met the very heavy burden of proving that he does.

I agree. Roberts has the resume to be a Supreme Court judge. It’s possible that he will be a pleasant surprise and will be an improvement over Rehnquist. But there is a principle involved here. He won’t reveal how he feels on many important legal controversies. Is that a precedent that we want to perpetuate? If he were to openly declare himself as opposed to Roe would he be confirmed? I doubt it.

In the hearings he tried to leave the impression that he would respect Roe because of the precedent of the Casey case, which upheld Roe. But he could have been intentionally misleading Congress in order to assure his confirmation. Clarence Thomas lied during his confirmation hearings, claiming to have never discussed Roe in his adult life.

As far as I am concerned, allowing judges to avoid answering questions about hot-button issues is a prerequisite for conservatives getting their intolerant nominees confirmed. If we hold the line on the principle that judges must be forthcoming we will change the kinds of judges that will be offered. And I don’t think it will hurt us too much when it comes time for us to nominate our own judges. The American people generally support our side on civil rights, women’s rights, and other contentious issues.

The Democrats should block Roberts’s nomination on principle.

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