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August 14, 2005

Roberts Nomination Reflects Failure of Rightwing Legal Revolution

If the Rehnquist Court has frustrated legal liberals who once saw the courts as the royal road to progressive reform, the Roberts nomination reflects the conservative failure to sell their most radical vision of courts as well.

As this Newsweek article reflects, the memos from a young John Roberts reflects as era when conservatives hoped for total rightwing ascendancy in the courts. While some goals-- especially related to removing many of the Warren Court restrictions on executive power -- were achieved in the last twenty years, the fact that the administration is trying to dismiss those early Roberts views as merely "lawyerly" duty reflects their recognition that they have failed to sell rightwing legal views to most of the public.

And instead of a rightwing judicial activist, we end up with Roberts who urges judicial restraint -- something that will serve the rightwing when they have popular support for their policies, but will gain them less in those areas where they don't.

Posted by Nathan at August 14, 2005 11:13 AM