Upper Left Coast

Thoughts on politics, faith, sports and other random topics from a red state sympathizer in indigo-blue Portland, Oregon.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Roberts' "extremist" record

From a column on National Review today, Peter Kirsanow tallies up the percentage of times that supreme court justices agreed with John Roberts' advocacy position when it came to civil rights, and finds it to be at 70 percent.

Kirsanow goes on:
The immediate reaction of some Roberts opponents might be to contend that this high percentage is inflated by the presence and influence of conservatives (read “fellow extremists”) on the Court such as Scalia and Thomas. But of the 13 justices before whom Roberts has argued 11 have agreed with his advocacy interest more than 50 percent of the time.

To be sure, of the current Supreme Court justices, those that agreed most often with Roberts’s advocacy interests were Rehnquist (74 percent of the time) Scalia (70 percent) Kennedy (70 percent) and Thomas (69 percent). Yet even liberals such as Ginsburg (60 percent) Stevens (57 percent) and Souter (57 percent) agreed with Roberts more than 50 percent of the time. (Note that not all of Roberts’s arguments in a given case were precisely adopted within the rationales of respective justice’s opinions. Nonetheless, the justices at the very least concurred with his general advocacy interest in the foregoing percentages.)

Organizations such as the NAACP, which last week declared that recently revealed documents indicate Roberts has “a longstanding hostility towards core NAACP civil rights priorities,” clearly must not be aware of the foregoing. Nor must they be aware of one additional fact: Thurgood Marshall, former chief counsel for the NAACP, lion of civil rights litigation and hero of Brown v. Board of Education, Sweatt v. Painter and Murray v. Pearson agreed with Roberts’s advocacy position 67 percent of the time — nearly the same as Scalia and Thomas and more than O’Connor, the justice who upon her retirement was praised as “moderate” by many of those now opposing Roberts.

Unless Roberts’s opponents are prepared to call Thurgood Marshall a civil-rights extremist they need to acknowledge that Roberts’s advocacy positions, as well as his judicial decisions are squarely within the mainstream.
He's out of the mainstream! Extremist! We must filibuster! Oh, wait...sorry. Justice Marshall died in 1993.


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