U.S. Senate candidate Jean Hay Bright would vote against confirmation of Judge John Roberts as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court
September 17, 2005
Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Jean Hay Bright said Saturday that after watching the John Roberts nomination hearings she did not think Roberts should be confirmed as Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.
"Yes, he appears to be extremely intelligent," Hay Bright said in her latest campaign update to supporters, "but the overriding sense I came away with is of a man who looks at the law and the Constitution as an intellectual challenge - as an overblown chess game if you will. I found very little humanity in his responses to critical points."
Hay Bright said that while Democratic Senators on the Judiciary Committee sought to learn what core values Judge Roberts held, she was troubled by Roberts' repeated insistence that his own values were irrelevant, that he would set aside those values when judging a case.
"I cannot imagine anyone being able to do that," Hay Bright said. "If Judge Roberts really thinks he can park his values over to the side when deciding a case, then he must not have any down-to-the-bone values.
"His description was that of a hollow man, one able to adopt the verbiage of the law books of the land as he would put on a suit, but who does not really grasp the law's humanity or essence."
Hay Bright said she was also concerned about a court decision made by Judge Roberts just a few months ago, when he and other judges on the District of Columbia federal appeals court upheld President Bush's creation of special military tribunals for trials of alleged terrorists and denied them the protection of the Geneva Convention.
"Other people have criticized Judge Roberts for his failure to recuse himself in that case," Hay Bright said, "since he was then in the midst of interviews with key administration officials as a potential Supreme Court nominee. While that refusal to recuse himself is serious in and of itself, Judge Roberts' approval of the Bush administration's treatment of detainees, putting them outside the protection of international law, is to my mind unconscionable."
The Dixmont Democrat also said that President Bush's blank-check promise to "make things right" in states hit by Hurricane Katrina without rolling back the tax cuts for the wealthy is irresponsible and unworkable.
"The President says he'll cut 'unnecessary government spending' from his deficit-ridden federal budget to pay these costs. Just where is this unnecessary government spending coming from?" Hay Bright asked. "Does he mean further cuts, beyond the $10 billion already cut, in the Medicaid program? How about more cuts for the Army Corps of Engineers? What exactly is he talking about?"
"I wish with all my heart that the Iraq War was on his list of unnecessary government spending," Hay Bright said, "but I know it is not."