Media Notes by Howard Kurtz
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Supreme Blather

Philadelphia Inquirer : "In his first major public statement since being nominated to the Supreme Court, John G. Roberts Jr. hit one crucial point hard yesterday: that the role of judges in America is limited and that he would embrace the idea of judicial restraint above all else."

Chicago Tribune : "Pledging to confront every case with an 'open mind,' Supreme Court nominee Judge John Roberts Jr. said Monday that he would listen to the 'considered views' of his colleagues and be vigilant in protecting the court's independence and integrity if he is confirmed as the nation's 17th chief justice."

Salon's Michael Scherer calls the session "a practice in platitudes, a four-hour spectacle of partisan posturing and public introductions in a marble hearing room gilded with gold and strung with chandeliers. Senators droned on, while Roberts posed for the camera." Slate calls the senators "insufferably pompous."

Matt Margolis at Blogs for Bush: "To be honest . . . this opening stuff is very boring . . . This seems to be more about the individual senators than it does about Roberts."

Ya think?

The New Republic's Jeffrey Rosen says libs should play hail to the chief:

"The claim that Roberts would move the Court to the right as chief justice-- and that he therefore deserves greater scrutiny-- is transparently unconvincing. Far from being a proponent of resurrecting the limitations on federal power that some conservatives call the Constitution in Exile, Roberts's memos and judicial opinions suggest, in fact, that he takes a more expansive view of congressional power than O'Connor. Although liberals canonized O'Connor as a moderate after she announced her retirement, they forget that she was among the Court's most enthusiastic and activist proponents of striking down both federal and state regulations. Chief Justice William Rehnquist, by contrast, was a more deferential conservative, less likely to strike down regulations in the name of economic rights . . .

"And, in other areas of concern to liberals--such as his willingness to uphold precedents with which he disagrees-- Roberts may turn out to be more concerned about judicial stability and humility than either Rehnquist or O'Connor, which suggests he might even move the Court to the left. The truth is that Roberts's nomination as chief justice was a peace offering from Bush to Democrats and a gift to principled liberal and conservative defenders of judicial restraint. Rather than listening to the siren song of ideological interest groups who are urging them to cast a symbolic but futile vote of opposition, Democrats should instead vote to confirm Roberts as chief justice with gratitude and relief."

Court TV anchor (and former judge) Catherine Crier has a new book out called "Contempt," and she steps out of the anchor closet to rip hard-right conservatives:

"The extreme Right has conquered the executive and legislative branches of government, but it has not been able to bring the federal courts to heel . . . yet. Undoubtedly, this group has a prodigious impact on the Supreme Court and the other federal courts, but it wants so much more. Its leaders have taken an entity that innately resists politics and turned it into a highly politicized battle zone. They seethe over this unelected, independent third branch of government, the last bulwark between the American people and their attempted coup. That some federal judges have proven well educated, fair, and unintimidated by these voices and methods has further stymied their best-laid plans . . .

"Most of them would like to see the United States under biblical law. Comparable to countries like Sudan, Saudi Arabia, and Iran, all of which live by Sharia (the strict Islamic code of the Koran), America's right-wing fundamentalists seek a nation governed by Old and New Testament scripture. Born-again Christianity will supplant the Constitution."

Yow. I hope this doesn't happen by next week.

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