A lot of attention is given by the U.S. Senators about the demeanor and the knowledge of the law by Chief Justice nominee John Roberts. But are those matters the most significant areas of scrutiny for a Supreme Court justice?
As a physician, the literary and movie character Hannibal Lecter would no doubt be considered highly skilled. And his intellect and charm were known to be highly developed and disarming, making victims more vulnerable than if his personal qualities had been totally unappealing or unsavory. Yet, Hannibal Lecter proved to be dangerous, a murderer, a torturer, a sadist, a sociopath.
John Roberts may have a pleasing demeanor and a high degree of legal skills and knowledge of the law. And he may be the Chief Justice to smile and pleasantly argue away the rights of minorities. Roberts may pleasantly shake the hands of liberal congressmen while he undoes the progressive agenda. He may wish well the women who ask for his help, while denying them the privacy they most ask of him.
There should be no doubt that John Roberts has a history as an activist in conservative legal causes. There should be no doubt that John Roberts would have never been nominated by the Bush Administration had there been any doubt whatsoever about his inner beliefs and personal agenda. George W. Bush and his advisors would not take any chances with such a crucial nomination. George W. Bush has an agenda for the Supreme Court, and John Roberts is the enactor of that agenda; political conservatives would not bless the nomination, either, without intrinsic understanding that Roberts will serve to weaken Congress, strengthen the Executive Branch’s authority, and weaken progressive legislation of the past and future. A Roberts court will weaken endangered species protections, limit rights of disadvantaged persons who seek relief from institutions oriented toward the rich and powerful, and will undermine citizen protections that many have taken for granted.
George W. Bush has skillfully enacted his agenda, and his agenda for the Supreme Court has been on hold awaiting vacancies on the court. Bush and his team have had years to prepare for the enactment of their agenda, and they are focusing public attention on areas that are less important, such as demeanor, and focusing public attention away from issues that are critically important, such as philosophy and legal activism of their nominee.
If John Roberts is confirmed as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, it will be a further contribution of George W. Bush to the weakening of the Republic that will go on for decades after Bush leaves office. "Hannibal" Roberts in charge of the Federal Judiciary is even worse than Hannibal Lecter loose in society.