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July 28, 2005
The Latest Roberts Hysteria

The Miami Herald adds fuel to the hysteria on the Left generated by the nomination of John Roberts to the Supreme Court. The Herald reports that Roberts did significant background work for the Bush campaign in Florida during the recount melee -- and predictably, the Left has jumped all over it:

U.S. Supreme Court nominee John Roberts played a broader behind-the-scenes role for the Republican camp in the aftermath of the 2000 election than previously reported -- as legal consultant, lawsuit editor and prep coach for arguments before the nation's highest court, according to the man who drafted him for the job.

Ted Cruz, a domestic policy advisor for President Bush and who is now Texas' solicitor general, said Roberts was one of the first names he thought of while he and another attorney drafted the Republican legal dream team of litigation ''lions'' and ''800-pound gorillas,'' which ultimately consisted of 400 attorneys in Florida. ...

''He's one of the best brief writers in the country. Just like a good journalist or a novelist, he can write with clarity, concisely and can paint a picture with words,'' said Cruz. Roberts, a constitutional-law expert in a top Washington law firm at the time, is now a federal appeals court judge in D.C. Roberts was a no-brainer for the recount effort: His win-loss record at the U.S. Supreme Court was one of the most impressive. And, like Cruz, he was a member of a tight-knit circle of former clerks for the court's chief justice, William Rehnquist -- a group jokingly referred to as ``the cabal.''

So how has the port side of the blogosphere taken this news, seeing as how the recount effort remains one of their favorite myths of Democratic victimhood? Josh Marshall, in a failing attempt to remain rational, declares that it's "[n]ot quite disqualifying, perhaps." John at Americablog smells a payoff. So does Susie Madrak. Lambert at Corrente, meanwhile, suspects that Roberts played a key role in a conspiracy involving Rehnquist, or possibly Antonin Scalia for some weird reason, to corrupt the Court -- and then accuses the Republicans of wanting to fight Florida 2000 all over again.

Kool-Aid spill, aisle 1!

Well, let's see what Roberts actually did for the Republicans in Florida for the recount, according to the Miami Herald. He reviewed some of their legal briefs for their appellate arguments in federal court, and he may have helped write some of them. He took part in a moot court to practice the oral arguments. He gave advice to the Republicans, apparently on a pro bono basis although that isn't certain from this reporting. He didn't short his other clients by ignoring court dates; he left Florida to argue two Supreme Court cases in the middle of the effort, winning one and losing the other.

In short, he acted as an attorney on a case that comes along once in 128 years, a case in which any attorney would love to take part. He conducted himself well, did fine work, and represented his client ably in a background role. His client eventually won the case, and later, three recounts (including one captained by the Miami Herald) proved that his client won the election.

Oooh ... I can understand why that might disqualify someone for the Supreme Court!

Give us all a break. This wasn't some grand conspiracy but a court battle conducted in the open -- one which the Democrats touched off in Florida, not the Republicans. Did the Left expect that the GOP would bring in Bob Dole to do their legal work, or find the best representation possible?

What a joke.

A word of advice for the port side of the blogosphere: try keeping your powder dry. If you get this cranked up over a "revelation" that Roberts actually did work for the GOP at one point in his career, then no one will take you seriously if at some point Bush nominates a real extremist to the bench.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at July 28, 2005 6:21 AM

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