I believe his speech speaks for itself.
After a short list of thank yous, particularly to the President and the recently deceased Chief Justice Rehnquist, whom he worked for and whose position he is trying to fill, he got to the point:
Judges and justices are servants of the law, not the other way around. Judges are like umpires. Umpires don't make the rules; they apply them.What is both nice to see and interesting to point out - for both sides of the aisle - is that Roberts is being absolutely fair; neither side has precedence over the other. Both Republicans and Democrats should be happy with his remarks, and neither should complain if this results in a ruling with which they do not approve.
The role of an umpire and a judge is critical. They make sure everybody plays by the rules.
But it is a limited role. Nobody ever went to a ball game to see the umpire.
Judges have to have the humility to recognize that they operate within a system of precedent, shaped by other judges equally striving to live up to the judicial oath.
And judges have to have the modesty to be open in the decisional process to the considered views of their colleagues on the bench.
He then talked about the thrill of appearing before the Supreme Court and arguing both for and against the United States of America.
Mr. Chairman, when I worked in the Department of Justice, in the office of the solicitor general, it was my job to argue cases for the United States before the Supreme court.He also talked about the role he feels he must - or must not - play.
I always found it very moving to stand before the justices and say, "I speak for my country."
But it was after I left the department and began arguing cases against the United States that I fully appreciated the importance of the Supreme Court and our constitutional system.
Here was the United States, the most powerful entity in the world, aligned against my client. And yet, all I had to do was convince the court that I was right on the law and the government was wrong and all that power and might would recede in deference to the rule of law.
That is a remarkable thing.
Mr. Chairman, I come before the committee with no agenda. I have no platform. Judges are not politicians who can promise to do certain things in exchange for votes. I have no agenda, but I do have a commitment. If I am confirmed, I will confront every case with an open mind. I will fully and fairly analyze the legal arguments that are presented. I will be open to the considered views of my colleagues on the bench. And I will decide every case based on the record, according to the rule of law, without fear or favor, to the best of my ability. And I will remember that it's my job to call balls and strikes and not to pitch or bat.
Finally, his best point was stuck in the middle of his short statement. [Ezzie: Part of quote is repeated]
Here was the United States, the most powerful entity in the world, aligned against my client. And yet, all I had to do was convince the court that I was right on the law and the government was wrong and all that power and might would recede in deference to the rule of law.It is interesting to note that many people view this differently; that laws are somehow restrictive to rights. But Justice Roberts puts it perfectly:
That is a remarkable thing.
It is what we mean when we say that we are a government of laws and not of men. It is that rule of law that protects the rights and liberties of all Americans. It is the envy of the world. Because without the rule of law, any rights are meaningless.
Because without the rule of law, any rights are meaningless.Laws are often made to protect those who otherwise might not be, and this is an incredible thing. At the same time, laws should and must be made to protect the values and beliefs of everyone - not only minority views, but majority views as well. If the beliefs, rights, or laws of the minority will negatively affect the rights and sensitivities of the majority, those laws must be rethought. Perhaps they will stand; perhaps not. But they must be scrutinized to ensure that they serve the greater good. This could apply to Roe vs. Wade; laws regarding homosexuality; the government seizure ruling that was made recently; etc. Some may go one way, some the other - and that is fine, as long as each ruling is argued, discussed, and ruled upon properly.
John Roberts is the right man to lead the Court in doing so.
Technorati tags: John Roberts, Supreme Court, Senate hearings.
I am glad you wrote this. More people need to hear it. -ZoeReplyDelete