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John Roberts - will he or won't he?

Reported by Chrish - July 26, 2005

Carl Cameron, reporting last night 7/25/05 on Special Report, stated about Supreme Court nominee John Roberts "...but when it comes to Roberts, officials say, who he associates with and what he believes in private will not affect how he rules publicly from the bench."

Scott McClellen is then shown saying "...and he's indicated there is nothing that's in his personal views that would prevent him from faithfully and fully applying the law."

However, Jonathan Turley (who has appeared as a contributor on Fox, as recently as last week), writes in the LA Times that when asked by Senator Richard Durbin what he "would do if the law required a ruling that his church considers immoral. (Roberts is a devout Catholic and is married to an ardent pro-life activist. The Catholic Church considers abortion to be a sin, and various church leaders have stated that government officials supporting abortion should be denied religious rites such as communion.)"

According to Turley, Roberts, "(r)enowned for his unflappable style in oral argument, ... appeared nonplused and, according to sources in the meeting, answered after a long pause that he would probably have to recuse himself."

Comment: This is a red flag for Senators considering a lifetime appointment to the highest court in the country. I admire Robert's honesty in answering the question, but if he cannot commit to "faithfully and fully" upholding the laws then he should withdraw himself from the nomination.

It is disengenuous to say that a nominees personal beliefs don't matter. Why then is it so important to Bush's base that a strong conservative be appointed?

Amended 7/26/05: There is disagreement within the press about the accuracy of Turley's statement. Based on the following quotes,

"Jonathan Turley's column is not accurate," Durbin press secretary Joe Shoemaker said, adding that his boss never asked that question and Judge Roberts never said he would recuse himself in such a case.
"Judge Roberts said repeatedly that he would follow the rule of law," Mr. Shoemaker said." Washington Times

"But in an interview last night, Professor Turley said Mr. Durbin himself had described the conversation to him on Sunday morning, including the statement about recusal....

Mr. Durbin declined to discuss the issue on Monday. A spokesman, Joe Shoemaker, said, "What Judge Roberts did say clearly and repeatedly was that he would follow the rule of law, and beyond that we are going to leave it to Judge Roberts to offer his views." New York Times

we'll have to wait and see how this one plays out.

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