Roberts may tip Liberty’s scales

For most Supreme Court nominees, their judicial track record is scrutinized and prodded at by the opposing end of the political spectrum, allowing the public to become aware of any biases a nominee may have. This is a good practice, as, despite popular belief, most members of Congress actually listen to what their constituents think.

This is just not the case with John G. Roberts, President Bush’s Supreme Court nominee. His judicial record only spans two years, when he served on the U.S. Court of Appeals. This is hardly the history we need to be able to make any sort of decisions on whether or not he is a good candidate for the most powerful court in the nation.

But this may actually be the fault of Democrats. According to The Washington Post, Bill Clinton and the rest of the Democrats blocked an earlier nomination by George H. W. Bush for Roberts to join the U.S. Court of Appeals. This would have provided us with 10 additional years of rulings to look at and decide what kinds of decisions Roberts would be likely to make as a justice.

Instead, we are forced to take his word on everything. How can we really know that, given the chance, he wouldn’t overturn important cases such as Roe v. Wade? How would he vote on cases related to gay rights?

If you think about the last election and the issues most Americans were concerned with, we are left with two things: gay marriage and abortion. No one cared about the failing economy. No one cared about the asinine, ridiculous war in Iraq. People just wanted to know how the two presidential candidates were going to regulate what people can and can’t do with their bodies and what rights, if any, were going to be stripped from an already oppressed minority.

The same should be expected for this nominee. He’s in the spotlight and citizens want to know how he would vote on these issues. He’s a conservative, but just how conservative is he?

An analysis of Roberts’ voting record in The Washington Post indicates that Roberts agreed with the U.S. Court of Appeals’ most liberal member 94 percent of the time. But let’s not forget that most of these cases weren’t political in nature. When you remove the political aspect of rulings, they come down to common sense. But what we need to hope is that Roberts has the common sense to refrain from altering the legal precedents set forth by justices past.

Anyone who has taken a statistics class knows how easily “facts” can be manipulated to say just about anything. Without some hard proof that Roberts can be at least moderate in the Supreme Court and not let his political ties affect his rulings, we have no choice but to distrust him. The power of the Supreme Court is too great to be left to a man who only has a handful of cases for the public to consider. What we really need is a judge with a proven moderate voting history. Our rights are too important to be left to chance.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Summer Kent Stater editorial board.