Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Chafee to back Roberts for court

From today's Providence Journal:

Republican Sen. Lincoln D. Chafee said yesterday that he will vote to confirm federal appellate Judge John G. Roberts Jr. as chief justice of the Supreme Court, despite his concern that Roberts may seek to restrict abortion rights.

Even if he proves to be a staunch conservative, Chafee reasoned, Roberts would not disturb the court's narrow majority in favor of abortion rights or move the court to the right on other key issues because he would be replacing another staunch conservative -- the late Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist.

Besides, Chafee asserted, Roberts has given encouraging signals that he will respect the judicial precedents in favor of legal abortion and other positions that Chafee favors.

"We were all bowled over by the depth of his intellect and his accomplishments," Chafee added of Roberts.
...
The candidates for Chafee's seat in next year's election split along party lines when surveyed on the Roberts nomination. Secretary of State Matt Brown and former Attorney General Sheldon Whitehouse, both Democrats, said they oppose the nomination principally because Roberts did not make clear during his confirmation hearings that he supports abortion rights.

Cranston Mayor Stephen P. Laffey, a Republican, issued a printed statement in support of "this mainstream nominee," as he called Roberts. Laffey declined to answer questions about his position.
...
Chafee noted that crucial elements of a woman's right to abortion have been affirmed in a series of 5-to-4 votes in the high court. "O'Connor was one of the five and Rehnquist was one of the four," he said, reasoning that a conservative replacement for the conservative Rehnquist would not change the result in similar cases.
...
Some allies in the abortion-rights camp, he said, have told him "they understand" his position.

This is so completely unfuckingsurprising that I could barely bring myself to read the text. The boilerplate article, which I assume the Projo keeps on permanent file is: Chafee announces support for BushCo nominee/appointment/foriegn policy folly/domestic policy disaster/attempt to shred bill of rights du jour; Projo directly or implicitly reminds readers that he is a "moderate" Republican who actually opposes many of the specifics of issue at hand that he is about to support through his vote; Chafee offers up lame-ass excuse for voting against stated moderate beliefs; Projo offers quote from righter-wing whacko--Steve Laffey has been particularly convenient lately--in a redoubled effort to persuade readers that Chafee is moderate.

I'd be interested in finding out exactly how some of Chafee's "allies in the abortion-rights camp" have found a way to "understand" his reasoning. Maybe the chuckleheads at NARAL can clarify.

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