From The Capitol Times:
U.S. Sens. Russ Feingold and Chuck Schumer sent a letter Wednesday to Supreme Court nominee John Roberts Jr., questioning his "continued participation" in a controversial Guantanamo Bay detainee case during his interview process for the high court vacancy.
Wednesday's letter focused on Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, a lawsuit filed against the Defense Department by Salim Ahmed Hamdan, who was captured in Afghanistan in 2001 and is being held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Roberts was one of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals judges who upheld a Defense Department appeal on July 15 of a lower court decision, ruling that Hamdan - who admitted to being Osama bin Laden's personal driver from 1996 to 2001 - should be tried before a military commission.
In the letter, the senators asked Roberts why he did not recuse himself from the case while he was being interviewed by President Bush and other members of the administration - parties with a vested interest in the success of the Defense Department's appeal.
The letter went on to point out that "several leading legal ethicists" have indicated that by not recusing himself from the case, Roberts may have violated the federal judicial recusal statute. That statute reads that "any justice, judge or magistrate judge of the United States shall disqualify himself in any proceeding in which his impartiality might reasonably be questioned."
Now, of course the Republicans, Arlen Specter being one, have come out to defend their Golden Boy. I'm certainly no expert on the federal judicial recusal statute so this may shake out to be nothing. However, isn't it interesting how, with each new bit of information we unearth about Roberts, the less a "consensus choice" he becomes?
All the information I've read about Roberts from the news and from his writings paint me a picture of a judge firmly in the pocket of the Republican party and its corporate interests. This story sounds like more par-for-the-course client work on behalf of the Republican Party that Roberts has served throughout his entire career.
Only, this time, it was while he was a federally-appointed judge. He's likely soon to be approved to a much higher federal judgeship, the highest in the land. Will he still be loyally representing his "client's" interests? Will his judicial philosophy just happen to match the Republican platform point-for-point? Funny, I always thought the Supreme Court represented us all and the President was supposed to be cognizant of that? I can remember a President that actually met with Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee before he even made his nominations. Too bad George W. Bush wasn't interested in being a "uniter and not a divider" as he's often claimed. Maybe Bush could have been more like that former President?
But then, Bush is no Clinton...