Saturday, July 23, 2005

Don't Get Distracted

Surprise! The major focal point of the upcoming confirmation process about John Roberts might not be about abortion? I really couldn't believe this article when I read it the other day--not because I disagree with the content, but rather the attitude that it should be assumed that abortion will be the #1 issue for the nomination process. It gets people agitated enough to start sending money to whichever political group suits their fancy, but it doesn't really represent even a significant amount of what the Supreme Court really works on.

In fact, people should really quit all the inane, senseless, and just plain over-emotionalized abortion talk because the Supreme Court deals with issues that affect our daily lives in just as if not (ooh, surprise) more signifcant ways. I really hope the confirmation process involves an investigation of how Roberts really thinks about significant issues of jurisprudence: modern interpretation of the commerce clause, police powers for surveillance/searches/ interrogation/imprisonment, designation of enemy combatant status etc.

Take for example searches without any due cause on the New York subway system. Apparently, it won't do a thing to deter terrorists because the search can be denied and you can exit and try your luck again. Mayor Bloomberg said that the purpose of these searches was "to make people feel comfortable ... and keep the potential threat away." Notably, he mentioned the comfort factor first because any rational person would have to realize that the only purpose such a system could have is to satisfy the public that the authorities are doing something. Sadly, such measures do very, very little to protect us while very significantly marginalizing our civil rights. It's a great PR stunt to make people feel safer, but I'd much rather see the time and money invested in this effort going into intelligence work that will catch potential terrorists no matter what kind of target they end up choosing.

I single this issue out because I find it particularly alarming, and I expect that this will shortly be challenged in court (and probably lose).

I for one am just relieved that Roberts doesn't adhere to The Constitution in Exile (<-- uses Jeffrey Rosen as the main source) We don't know that much about him yet, but we certainly won't learn anything valuable by talking about him with regards to the culture wars.


At 1:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As long as the hearings are not about the strategic placement of pubic hair, that's fine with me...actually, I agree with you, Chris, and I would hope that the majority of the American public would second your eager anticipation of a thorough probe into the foundation of Roberts' conception of jurisprudence. Nice post.


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