Roberts Dismisses Resistance to Miers as “Sexism,” Souter Her Model “Pragmatist”?

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<img vspace="0" hspace="0" border="0" align="right" src="http://newsbusters.org/media/2005-10-09-ABCTWCokie.jpg" />During the roundtable segment on Sunday’s <i>This Week with George Stephanopoulos</i>, ABC reporter Cokie Roberts charged that “I do think there's sexism here” and went on to approvingly cite a left-wing Democratic Senator: “I do think that there is a degree of sexism, as Barbara Mikulski has also said, and I do think that there is a certain Ivy League prejudice going on here.” Roberts contended that Miers’ “experience on the Dallas city council showed her to be a great pragmatist and that's what people are really worried about.&quot; Roberts soon gushed: “Praise the Lord she doesn't have a judicial philosophy.&quot; She cited Justice O’Connor’s approach as desirable: “You're presented with a case on the Supreme Court instead of an argument, and you decide the case and that's exactly what Sandra Day O'Connor did and that's exactly what makes conservatives angry.&quot; <br /><br />When former Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich suggested that “a lot of conservatives are worried that she is going to be another David Souter,” Roberts interjected: &quot;A pragmatist.&quot; (So, Roberts sees the liberal Souter as merely a &quot;pragmatist&quot;? Or, maybe she was trying to correct Reich and just meant that conservatives are upset not by how Miers will be another Souter but by how Miers might be another &quot;pragmatist.&quot;) She also lamented how “the people who are complaining about this didn't complain about Clarence Thomas, who was hardly a distinguished jurist when he was picked for the bench.&quot; To that, George Will shot back: “He was, however, a jurist on America's most distinguished appellate court.” (Transcribed excerpts from the October 9 <i>This Week</i> follow.)</p><blockquote>
<!--break--> George Will: “Well, look, the problem with this nomination is illustrated by Senator Specter, who in his gallant defense of her against the lynch mob of unelected columnists said, 'they should be quiet because they don't know anything about her,’ which is the point. She is now in her seventh decade of life and has left no trail, no evidence, not a law review article, not a judicial opinion, no evidence of an interest in what Mr. Specter said are complex and esoteric questions of constitutional law. It being virtually impossible, the administration has now shown in six days, to come up with the reasons for the nomination. They have defended it not with reasons but with bombast and name-calling. Bombast. Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina's advice was to conservatives was, and I quote, to 'shut up.’ Reminds me of a Ring Lardner short story in which the line occurs, 'shut up, he explained.’ Name calling, we're snobs. We're supposed to have some nameless grudge against the SMU law school which is not true. The idea that conservatives sit around at night brooding about how to defend and dignify Harvard University is peculiar.” <br /><br />George Stephanopoulos, to laughter from panel: “You have strong feelings on this, George?”<br /><br />Will: “I didn’t until the administration decided to take a shambles, work on it six days, and make it worse by sending out the likes of Ed Gillespie, who’s way out of his depth in this argument, to say this is elitism and sexism. It is about elitism if that is a synonym for excellence which the American people are owed on the Supreme Court.”<br /><br />Cokie Roberts reasonably pointed how some obvious White House hypocrisy: “It seems to me that there is so much hypocrisy going on here. We were told, you know, we shouldn’t pay any attention to John Roberts’ views, that they were inappropriate to be asked, and now we have -- well you had a minute George, hold on.”<br /><br />Will: “I wrote a column giving questions to ask Roberts.”<br /><br />Roberts: “And we should pay attention to John Roberts’ religion. And now we’re being told religion matters and that the views do matter. I do think there’s sexism here. I’m not accusing you [Will] my friend of that, but I do think that there is a degree of sexism, as Barbara Mikulski has also said, and I do think that there is a certain Ivy League prejudice going on here. I think that's absolutely true. The truth is anybody who has dealt with this woman comes back saying that she is very smart, very prepared and her experience on the Dallas city council showed her to be a great pragmatist and that's what people are really worried about.”<br /><br />Stephanopoulos: “That she will be a pragmatist.”<br /><br />Roberts: “That she’ll be a pragmatist and that she doesn't have a judicial philosophy. Praise the Lord she doesn't have a judicial philosophy.” </blockquote> <br />A bit later:<br /><blockquote>Robert Reich: “To call her undistinguished grossly overstates her qualifications for this office. And the problem is by putting up somebody who has such little evidence, such a little track record you're feeding, inevitably, the paranoia on both sides of the aisle. I mean, a lot of conservatives are worried that she is going to be another David Souter,-“<br /><br />Roberts over Reich: “A pragmatist.”<br /><br />Reich: “- a lot of, you know, a lot of Democrats are very worried she is going to be a kind of religious zealot in disguise.”</blockquote><br />And soon after that:<br /><blockquote>Roberts: “What I'm saying is from what little we do know of her background, her background is that of a pragmatist and her not changing means that that's the way she's likely to turn out, and really, again, the people who are complaining about this didn't complain about Clarence Thomas, who was hardly a distinguished jurist when he was picked for the bench.” <br /><br />Will: “He was, however, a jurist on America's most distinguished appellate court. What the President, in effect, and her defenders are saying is trust us, she'll vote right. That is, she'll produce the right results. If there’s anything conservatives have argued about, series jurisprudential conservatives, is against result-oriented jurisprudence. In constitutional reasoning, how you get to your conclusion is as important as -- and in some senses -- is the conclusion you come to.”<br /><br />Roberts: “This is a judicial philosophy. The problem with that is that often you're presented with a case on the Supreme Court instead of an argument, and you decide the case and that's exactly what Sandra Day O'Connor did and that's exactly what makes conservatives angry.” </blockquote>

Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center