Circumspect and clever Roberts has been. No one really knows. But I predict two things: (a) Chief Justice Roberts will vote to uphold Roe v. Wade , and (b) his replacing his former boss, Chief Justice William Rehnquist, will move the court only mildly, but most assuredly, to the left -- as measured by the only available yardstick, the percentage of concurrences with the opinions of those conservative touchstones, Scalia and Thomas.A reasonable conclusion based upon the hearings and all indications and it is the one I tend to agree with.
I infer this not just by what Roberts has said in his hearings -- that he supports Griswold v. Connecticut , that he deeply respects precedent and that he finds Roe itself worthy of respect. That is little beyond boilerplate. I infer it from his temperament, career and life history as an establishment conservative who prizes judicial modesty above all. Which means that while he will never repeat Roe , he will never repeal it and be the cause of the social upheaval that repeal would inevitably bring.
Yet there is this quote found in Dana Milbank's Washington Post column, also of today, that gives one pause:
The thing that seemed to alarm Democrats was not Roberts himself or his writings but the fact that ideologues on the right love him so much. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (Mass.) held a news conference during the afternoon hearing and waved "publications from conservative journals" assuring conservatives that they should be "secure in knowing they have a true soul spirit with this nominee."So the question is, why do conservative ideologues favour him so heavily if he will not repeal Roe, as Krauthammer suggest? Maybe they're content not to have Roe "repeated" as Krauthammer foresees with a Roberts court. All a matter of speculation, but it is interesting how both sides appear to be willing to hope for the best with this nominee.