Justice Roberts

I always seem to be in the US when there is something interesting on politically. Last time it was the Presidential debates and this time it is the first Supreme Court nomination in 11 years.

The nomination appears to be a very shrewd one. The legal record of Judge John Roberts is first class, he has only been a judge for a couple of years so there is no long record of decisions to attack, and he appears to have achieved the impossible of being acceptable to both the hardline conservative groups and mainstream Democrats.

Some Democrats have been saying they are going to insist he reveal his personal views on a number of issues. This is a pity, because in theory the relevant qualifications are his standard of judicial decision making, not his personal views. But by demanding to know what a Judge thinks about abortion, about helping poor people etc. then you are not appointing Judges but Politicians. This is a major weakness of allowing a court to invalidate laws – inevitable polarisation.

This is why I prefer Justice Scalia and Thomas’ approach of originalism, rather than have nine Judges decide for all of society what today’s “evolving standards” are.

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