In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful




Last Thursday The Senate Judicial Committee has approved by 13 -to-5 votes the nomination of Judge John G Roberts Jr. for the 17 th Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of America, making his Senate confirmation almost certain. Many prominent Democrats like Senator Leahy of Vermont broke the party lines and sided with the majority Republicans whereas senators like Edward Kennedy and the two powerful Senators from NY State opposed it with tooth and nail.


President Bush nominee Judge Roberts is a young man of fifty. I followed his confirmation hearings for three days in Senate from September 13 to 15, 2005. He proved himself an extraordinarily qualified person to head the country’s Judicial System. He is fully conversant with the legal frame work of the USA that is interwoven with the other two branches of the government, the Congress and the Executive. He projected himself through cross-questioning of the senators that he is totally capable for the task that is going to be assigned to him. He appears to be quite competent for the job.


The nominee Judge Roberts is conservative through and through and carries a lot of expectation that he will not act as a liberal and rule over the destiny of US Judicial System for many decades as a conservative judge. That is perhaps the greatest worry of the democrats. In spite of the fact that Judge Roberts categorically confirmed that he hold his catholic views but his faith will play no part in making his decisions in court. At this point Judge Roberts emphatically pleaded that in the Court only the facts of the case, the law of the land, and the judicial precedents will be the dominant factors to decide the case on merit. Senate Democrats were, however, not the least satisfied with any of his explanation, assertive statements and the neutrality of the Supreme Court as he himself was not opening up his mind as how he will behave. He was, perhaps, correct in his expressed opinion that what is going to affect his future adjudication, he will not speak about it.


In fact, it would not be correct to say that it was simply a Judicial appointment. Judging all the intents and purposes of both Republicans and Democrats and observing the entire three days confirmation proceedings in the US Senate, it appeared that it tantamount to a political maneuvering. President Bush is an outright conservative and holding Catholic values of life that democrats abhor. The entire Republican team headed by Bush is after huge government and are determined to reduce the size of the Government as much as possible. They hold the vision to reduce the state interference in people’s life and cut down the size of the public expenditures to the maximum possible extent. To substantiate their policy of least interference they first reduce the taxes and then reduce the public expenditures to balance the budget. In the past President Regan, President Bush Senior and now President Bush Junior are following the same trajectory. So the Republicans are determined to get a conservative Judge Roberts appointed as the next Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. It was a political “drama” that was worth seeing by the intelligentsia of the country, learning a lot the Judicial set up of the country and the political forces working behind it on party lines


On the other hand, Democrats have a “permanent” fear that if Judge Roberts gets through his appointment, he will affect the balancing position of the court. As Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, his conservative views will side with the other four conservative sitting judges. Thus the “liberals” will become a permanent minority for decades.  This situation is likely to swing more in favor of the conservatives as President Bush is still to fill another vacancy of the Supreme Court to replace the seat that has fallen vacant due to retirement of Justice O’ Connor. The despondency and bitterness on the part of Democrats could be openly observed from the “sadistic” remarks of Senator Biden, Senator Kennedy, Senator Schumer and Senator Mrs. Feinstein of CA. The liberal democrats stand for a queer mixture of good and evil agenda of “pro-choice”, supporting gays and lesbian rights of homosexuality, gay marriages, along with fighting for the rights of the poor and needy, medicare, higher minimum wages and better environment which are opposed by the Republicans one way or the other. This strange agenda of Democrats is now leading them no where. They wanted Judge Roberts to give some assertive hint in favor of their liberal agenda and he wisely “refused” to succumb to their pressure.


It is thus clear that the nomination of Judge Roberts to the post of the Chief Justice of Supreme Court is “Judicial” in name only but for all practical purposes it resembled like a political arena on the Senate floor and both the parties were wrangling tooth and nail for their respective political agenda. Its importance is further increased when one sees that it is a life time appointment and that was the only opportunity when the Senators can get the maximum from the appointees during these committee hearings. Senators of both side were well informed and know the judicial system of the country in depth as they were putting very sharp cutting questions to Judge Roberts but they could nor “force” him to hear more than his apparent conviction that he had demonstrated time and again in his 52 judgments as the Judge of the Appealate Court in Washington DC.


The confirmation hearings were very enlightening to understand the Judicial System of the country in depth and a refined measure towards predetermining the quality and the character of the future Chief Justice of the USA. Judge Roberts may face some more hitches in the full and final confirmation by the Senate but he will win in the end.  He is likely to be one of the most influential and effective Chief Justices of the Supreme Court,  leaving many legacies of his many landmark judgments before retiring on his own accord or living this world behind with the approaches of  the inevitable death. He said that he is basically a religious person and will do justice to all on merit. He will do much better if he keeps the sense of accountability to his Lord God supreme and always fresh in his mind and approach while dealing with the life of hundreds and millions of Americans and the humanity at large that would knock the doors of the Supreme Court for Justice that he has pledged to deliver to all. That would be the most honorable criterion of his success as the Chief Justice, the third pillar of American’s well-established Constitutional Democracy.


Shamim A Siddiqi,                                                                                                                                                                                                                  September 25, 2005