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Saturday, January 28, 2006

the Roberts test

When Chief Justice John Roberts came before the Senate Judiciary committee he affirmed that the decision Roe v Wade was settled law.

We should call that minimum standard, ie. accepting Roe v Wade as settled law, "the Roberts test."

Judge Samuel Alito does not pass the Roberts test. Samuel Alito refused, before the very same Judiciary committee Chief Justice John Roberts faced, to accept Roe v Wade as settled law, even though he was given every chance to do so and every chance to explain himself.

A nominee who does not pass the "Roberts test" is, de facto, too extreme to serve on the Supreme Court, and merits a filibuster and a "no" vote on cloture.

This standard is moderate and reasonable. Indeed, John Roberts has impeccable credentials as a conservative. He is, after all, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court nominated by President George W. Bush. Chief Justice Roberts recently joined Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, nominated by President Ronald Reagan, in an unanimous ruling that upheld the "life and health of the mother" clause from Roe.

The Roberts test, then, should be a minimum standard by which we measure any nominee for the Supreme Court. All Americans of good faith should be able to agree to the reasonableness of this standard as it applies to our Supreme Court.

Judge Alito does not meet that minimum standard. Judge Alito fails the Roberts test. Whatever Judge Alito's qualifications as a judge and scholar, no nominee who does not meet the Roberts test belongs on the Supreme Court of the United States.


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