Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Should conservatives be worried about John Roberts' lack of a paper trail? Ann Coulter writes that we know nothing about how Roberts will judge. In response, Ramesh Ponnuru points out two clues increasing the likelihood that Roberts would vote to overturn Roe. Ponnuru also claims that "In the cases of O'Connor, Kennedy, and Souter, we didn't have these pro-life clues, and indeed in some cases we had some clues that went the other way--strong ones in the case of O'Connor." First clue: Roberts' representation of the first Bush adminstration, including its opposition to Roe, in Rust v. Sullivan. I don't find this clue helpful at all. It proves only that Roberts isn't so extremely pro-choice that he'd refuse to make a pro-life argument for a client, which was never in doubt. Second clue: Roberts' wife is very pro-life. This is a more relavent clue.

More generally, Roberts' background looks pretty conservative: Federalist Society (see update), Rehnquist clerk, Reagan administration, Bush I administration, etc. Another factor is that Bush may have sources who know Roberts' private views, as argued here. Bottom line: I remain optimistic about Roberts, although, like Randy Barnett, I would have preferred a publicly originalist nominee.

Update: Actually, Roberts is not a member of the Federalist Society.

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