Senate Democrats Likely Won’t Fight John Roberts Nomination

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 16, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Senate Democrats Likely Won’t Fight John Roberts Nomination Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
August 16, 2005

Washington, DC ( — Supreme Court nominee John Robbers has been so impressive and noncontroversial in Capitol Hill that leading Senate Democrats say they will not likely put up much of a fight against his nomination unless something extraordinary happens during his confirmation hearings next month.

More than a dozen Democratic senators and top aides told the Washington Post that they don’t expect a big fight. In fact, Roberts may be able to count on as many as 70 votes — more than enough to turn back a threatened filibuster by abortion advocates.

"No one’s planning all-out warfare," a Senate aide intimately involved in the confirmation strategy for Democrats told the Post.

The aide said the top goal is to make sure Roberts is scrutinized through both documents related to his work in the Reagan and former Bush administrations, his decisions on the D.C. appeals court, and through his confirmation hearings. The idea is to make sure Democrats don’t look like obstructionists or hotheads in their analysis of Roberts, the aide said.

"We’re going to come out of this looking dignified and will show we took the constitutional process seriously," the aide told the Post.

A Democratic lawmaker told the Washington newspaper that President Bush selected a noncontroversial nominee with no real reason to vote against him.

"This was a smart political choice from the White House," the lawmaker said. "I don’t think people see a close vote here."

Meanwhile, Senate Republicans have circulated a memo showing that the White House has 56 senators who they believe will vote for Roberts, including 44 who are solid. They have 44 as unknown, but eight of those are Republicans who simply haven’t made a public comment but are expected to support Roberts and nine others are Democrats who have made positive public comments about the nominee.

That leaves just 27 senators who may not support the first addition to the Supreme Court in over a decade.

Abortion advocates are hoping their friends in the Senate will take a hard line against Roberts and Sen. Barbara Boxer has pledged to filibuster his nomination if he doesn’t back abortion or Roe v. Wade in his interview with the Senate Judiciary Committee. However, with so many senators supporting Roberts, backers may easily be able to find 60 votes to stop Boxer and her colleagues.