BlueBloggin

Taking Texas And The Nation Back

Spector To Probe Supreme Court Decisions

Posted by nytexan on July 26, 2007

Is there anyone that Bush nominates, is associated with or appoints who doesn’t come under investigation or question? I think not. Arlen Spector, former chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, plans to review the confirmation testimony of Supreme Court Justices John Roberts and Samuel Alito. It appears that after both nominees gave their assurances to uphold stare decisis, they swiftly moved in the opposite direction. Bravo Spector.

Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) plans to review the Senate testimony of U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel A. Alito to determine if their reversal of several long-standing opinions conflicts with promises they made to senators to win confirmation.

Specter, who championed their confirmation, said Tuesday he will personally re-examine the testimony to see if their actions in court match what they told the Senate.

“There are things he has said, and I want to see how well he has complied with it,” Specter said, singling out Roberts.

The Specter inquiry poses a potential political problem for the GOP and future nominees because Democrats are increasingly complaining that the Supreme Court moved quicker and more dramatically than advertised to overturn or chip away at prior decisions.

Specter, the ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee, who served as chairman during the hearings, said he wants to examine whether Roberts and Alito have “lived up” to their assurances that they would respect legal precedents.

Judicial independence is “so important,” Specter said, but an examination could help with future nominations. “I have done a lot of analyzing and have come to the conclusion that these nominees answer just as many questions as they have to.”

“Certainly Justice Roberts left a distinct impression of his service as chief justice. And his performance on the court since, I think, has been in conflict with many of the statements he has made privately, as well as to the committee,” said Durbin, who was unaware of Specter’s idea.

“They are off to a very disturbing start, these two new justices. I am afraid before long they will call into question some of the most established laws and precedents in our nation.”

Breyer, an appointee of President Bill Clinton, drew attention last month for suggesting that Roberts and the conservative majority were flouting stare decisis, the legal doctrine that, for the sake of stability, courts should generally leave past decisions undisturbed.

“It is not often in the law that so few have so quickly changed so much,” Breyer said, reading his dissent from the bench to a 5-4 ruling that overturned school desegregation policies in two cities.

Roberts has defended his rulings as applications of “existing precedent.”

Specter, however, said Breyer’s statement was “an especially forceful criticism of the Roberts court.”

Like other Republicans and many Democrats, Specter grilled the nominees on their approach to precedent, often as a way to discern their thoughts on Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court ruling establishing abortion rights. And Specter repeatedly sought assurances that Roberts and Alito would respect what the senator considered settled law.

Before voting to confirm Roberts and Alito, Specter cited their statements on precedent as reason enough to put them on the high court.  

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said the testimony from Roberts and Alito was misleading in light of their rulings.

“I very much got the idea, the strong chain of reasoning, that they had great respect for stare decisis and they didn’t want to be activist judges,” said Feinstein, who voted against both nominees. “As you know, some of these latest cases have pretty much shattered precedent.”

A review could put “judges on notice that they can’t come in front of the Judiciary Committee, say one thing and leave one impression, and then go out and do another,” she added.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: