Talk:John Roberts/Archive 1

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Considering that this page is about to become very busy, I think we need to create a Talk page for it.


A few resources:

  • A Pictureat the Drudge Report Washington Post [Drudge stole the image with an inline link —Clarknova].
  • AP story confirming his nomination.
  • There's a good reference on Roberts here, for whoever's editing the article right now. Adam Faanes 23:56, 19 July 2005 (UTC)

(From which someone has currently lifted the entire paragraph beginning "In the unanimous ruling last October in Hedgepeth v. WMATA" to this page Cromis 00:56, 20 July 2005 (UTC))

  • A link to some of Roberts's position on key issues with appropriate sourcing [1]

more resources:

google news digs up articles here and here.

older profile here.


Let's get ready to rumble!!! Now, fellows, let's try to keep in mind Point of View in this article. Neutralityyy please! I'm sure this will turn out to be a controversial decision, but let's try to be professionals with this article. Happy writing!<<Coburn_Pharr>> 00:01, 20 July 2005 (UTC)

  • Things to mention: ABCNews is reporting that he was nominated twice before his 2003 appointment and was struck down both times, which should be mentioned, and is also reporting that he confirmed before he got his federal judgeship that he would have no problems following the strong precedent of Roe v Wade despite his personal views. (
  • We need to be very careful when using court cases which he argued as an attourney for positions he holds, those are the positions of his clients. It is likely that he holds the same opinion, though, for the cases cited. His decisions as a justice, however, are prime examples of his legal views. --Jacob 05:44, 20 July 2005 (UTC)
    • Cases he cites aren't relevant to showing what position he holds. I'm a law student right now and I can tell you that where there's controversy, there are cases on both sides. Attorneys are supposed to zealously advocate for their clients. Therefore, what he did as an attorney aren't as indiciative. I agree that what he has done as a judge is much more telling.
      • I meant the cases cited in the wikipedia article, not the actual cases. So, I meant he likely agrees with the positions he argued in court, the fact that he argued them does not make proof that he does hold that view, it seems you agree with me on that. My point was: most of the article, so far, with regard to his positions comes from cases he argued and this should be changed and furthermore we should be wary of practices.
  • There seems to be some conflict as to whether Feminists for Life should be "pro-life" or "anti-abortion". Might I suggest something more neutral, like "a group which does not support abortions" or something similar?
That's a question for the ages, Falcorian - if anyone ever does figure out a truly emotionally neutral way of separating those two viewpoints, I shall eat my hat. Kwh 08:48, 20 July 2005 (UTC)
Well, they're an abortion-advocacy group, so I say "anti-abortion," but I doubt we'd come to any consensus. --Badlydrawnjeff 14:46, 20 July 2005 (UTC)


Protected the article page temporarily to clean up massive anon edits that had reduced the article to one paragraph. Please be patient, and USE SECTION EDITING AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE TO AVOID EDIT CONFLICTS! If an edit conflict happens, please do not just hit "save" on your version to quash existing text. Thanks. Fuzheado | Talk 00:10, 20 July 2005 (UTC)

This reason is in violation of Wikipedia:Protection policy, and subverts the guidelines at Wikipedia:Edit lock. - O^O 00:14, 20 July 2005 (UTC)
Although the reason seems to follow the following guideline "Protecting a page or image that has been a recent target of persistent vandalism or persistent edits by a banned user.". Falcorian 00:16, July 20, 2005 (UTC)
O^O, "assume good faith." If you look at the 7 July 2005 London bombings page and other fast moving news pages, they were all protected dozens of times to fix up problems of lost edits and quickkly unprotected again. Fuzheado | Talk 00:21, 20 July 2005 (UTC)
This page may need to stay protected; we keep having vandals want to add things like bestiality and take away his current photo. These vandals need to get a life.Bedford | Talk 09:43, 20 July 2005 (EST)

UNPROTECTED - Fuzheado | Talk 00:15, 20 July 2005 (UTC)

Past Campaign Contributions

also... interesting history here, he seems to be a former bush campaign contributer. he represented the legal firm he worked for (Hogan & Hartson), whose Hogan & Hartson Political Action Commitee (H&H PAC), is listed as one of the larger PACs in Washington, and it's history can be found here, qualifying on this list, according to the [FEC], having donated $163,000 in a less than one year stretch between 2003 and mid-2004. source (pdf)

We need a public domain picture of Roberts ASAP

Can someone find one?

It is good to see an article that I created has finally hit the big time. :) NoSeptember 00:23, 20 July 2005 (UTC)

Good luck. PD pictures of judges are rather hard to find on the internet. --tomf688(talk) 00:28, July 20, 2005 (UTC)
Yeah, none of the sites I checked had any, nor did any of the major search engins turn up any. Falcorian 00:31, July 20, 2005 (UTC)
Forget PD, find a picture where he is one of a dozen people in the pick and clip him out of it - that would be a fair use. :-D -- BD2412 talk 00:38, July 20, 2005 (UTC)

As I understand it, that image is PD since it's provided by the DC Court of Appeals. ^_^ Cookiecaper 00:55, 20 July 2005 (UTC)

Kudos to whomever shrunk that first image of Roberts -- the article looks better now without it taking up so much of the screen Rast 01:30, July 20, 2005 (UTC)

Archiving already?

Did we really need to archive discussion so soon? It's not as if the discussion page was overflowing...

I put it back. --pile0nadestalk | contribs 01:53, 20 July 2005 (UTC)

Abortion v. Reproductive Rights v. Abortion and birth control

I can see something of an edit war brewing over this section and what it should be titled. It should be noted that John G. Roberts Jr. which means that if he follows the Churches teachings he will not only regard abortion as "sinful" but also any form of birth control. So personally I think we should go with "Reproductive rights". Evil MonkeyHello 02:09, 20 July 2005 (UTC)

You "personally"??? Then stop trying to impose your "personally" on others. "Reproductive rights" is a loaded special-interest term. Using it here, along with a carefully marshalled citation, reflects a bias which makes a mockery of Wikepedia's NPOV. Not only is the term disingenuous and agenda promoting, it's innaccurate. The issue is abortion, the decisions are about abortion, the cases are about abortion, the laws are about abortion, not so-called "reproductive rights," which, aside from their weasely euphemization, generically cover a wide range of issues. Calling the issue of abortion "reproductive rights" is like calling civilian casualties "collateral damage".
I've placed an NPOV tag on the article, and we'll let arbitration sort it out. Meanwhile, "Abortion and birth control" are perfectly neutral terms. LEAVE THEM ALONE! — J M Rice 02:32, 20 July 2005 (UTC)
What does birth control have to do with the price of tea in China, so to speak? I do not think that he will be questioned on birth control; only on abortion. Note that birth control explicitly differentiates abortion from birth control, and, AFAIK, birth control, in the sense which Wikipedia defines it, is not a seriously contended legal issue in the United States. Perhaps this is an allusion to RU486, but I do not believe that RU486 is considered to be birth control in that it actually terminates an existing pregnancy (but I could be wrong - could we get a professional opinion or two on this?). Anyway, abortion is clearly the neutral term here; POV'd terms include Right to Life and Right to Choose. So, the section should be titled either Abortion or Right to Life v. Right to Choose, and IMHO, Abortion is less awkward and is probably adequate. --Mm35173 02:45, 20 July 2005 (UTC)

How about just saying "Roe vs. Wade"; that's as neutral a term as we'll probably find. Bedford

Sounds OK to me. — J M Rice 02:32, 20 July 2005 (UTC)

Abortion and reproductive rights are two different things. Abortion is a subset of reproductive issues. Reproductive rights (or, "reproductive freedom" are neutral terms, no more POV than terms such as "voting rights," "free speech rights," or "property rights." If the discussion is limited to abortion, the label "abortion" is appropriate, but if we include discussion of his views on, e.g., Griswold v. Connecticut, "reproductive rights" is a more accurate term. -asx- 05:10, 20 July 2005 (UTC)

"Reproductive rights" (or, a fortiori, "reproductive freedom") are not a neutral terms - they are never read as such, and are haltingly rarely meant as such. They reflect the POV - overt or subtle - that the issue of abortion is a question exclusively (or primarily) of the rights of the mother. Which is, of course, a very reasonable, NPOV view if you happen to be pro choice. But, NPOV doesn't mean "seems reasonable to one side or the other", it means neutral point of view. The whole point of the pro life argument is precisely that abortion is not merely a question of reproductive rights. The best term to use, IMO, is abortion. If it is a loaded term, it is equally loaded on either side, and both pro lifers and pro choicers can read their own ideas into the term. Simon Dodd 02:38, 21 July 2005 (UTC)


Neutrality, how are the subheadings messing up your browser? And is it only in this article? What browser do you use? --pile0nadestalk | contribs 02:20, 20 July 2005 (UTC)

Playboy Channel

David Boies on MSNBC just said that he represented the Playboy Channel in a case. Can someone mention this in the article with the details? -Amit

BA in only three years

I added that he got his BA in only three years per MSNBCwhicky1978 02:34, July 20, 2005 (UTC)

Roman Catholic

There is nothing in the article that indicates Roberts is Roman Catholic, yet it is one of the categories.whicky1978 02:34, July 20, 2005 (UTC)

  • But Roberts is a Roman Catholic... I heard it on CNN, must be a source somewhere. Interesting that this nom therefore preserves the non-Protestant majority on the Court. Cheers! -- BD2412 talk 03:13, July 20, 2005 (UTC)

Yes there is. It says in the article that he is a practicing Catholic.


Shouldn't this be moved to John G. Roberts, Jr.? Postdlf 02:38, 20 July 2005 (UTC)

  • It absolutely should! But the latter page already redirects here, so the redirect must be deleted first. -- BD2412 talk 03:15, July 20, 2005 (UTC)

Quotes from other people

Well, my quote from Sen. Kennedy got taken out while I was looking for a counterbalancing quote from the same source (his confirmation hearings in 2003). What's the policy on quotes -- are they allowed? Chip Unicorn 04:22, 20 July 2005 (UTC)

Who Were His Interns?

One interesting way to get insight into Judge Roberts' judicial temperment might be looking at which schools he has drawn interns from. Anyone know how to find that out? -asx- 04:16, 20 July 2005 (UTC)

Obvious Vandalism

"Beastiality" this looks like vandalism. This should probably be removed unless there is a source backing it up.

Why does the entry refer to the judge being "really stupid" and President Bush being a "Douchebag?" (page does not allow editing right now)

Lack of Neutrality re: Environment

Roberts has often, both in his public and private work, taken a position against government environmental regulation. Roberts argued against the private citizen's right to sue the federal government for violations of environmental regulations in Lujan v. National Wildlife Federation.

Saying that this particular decision is AGAINST ENVIRONMENTAL REGULATION is like saying abortion rights groups are against babies. It's easily as much about the specifics of that case and about sueing the government.

This is not a list of his views, this is a list of reasons liberals won't like him, and should either be titled as such or reworked to be neutral.

-- 05:00, 20 July 2005 (UTC)

False dichotomy. You claim it is not a list of views, but reasons libersls don't like him. They are one and the same; given that he is a conservative, it only stands to reason that liberals would not agree with his views. Put another way: if you list the views of any conservative, it will be a list of reasons liberals disagree; likewise, if you list the views of any liberal, it will be a list of reasons conservatives disagree. Furthermore, you equate "babies" with "environmental regulation." The problem with that is that everyone universally agrees that babies are a good thing; not everyone agrees "environmental regulation" is a good thing. In fact, conservatives tend to oppose environmental regulation, while liberals tend to support it. The statement as it stands is an accurate representation of the views of this particular conservative, based on his body of work. -asx- 05:21, 20 July 2005 (UTC)
This is a very proper description of his beliefs. He has stated that, as part of his conservative government ideology, he does not think of the gov't as the enforcers of environmental laws. Therefore, he is Against Evironmental Regulation. --jonasaurus 08:32, 20 July 2005 (UTC)
Wrong, this is a very proper description of his client's beliefs. If we're going to talk about his personal beliefs, we must use his rulings and his words, not his defenses as he states them for a specific client he's working for. The article handles it well, currently, but to say that it has to do with "his conservative government ideology," and is thus "against Environmental Regulation," cannot be divined via arguments made for his clients. --Badlydrawnjeff 13:55, 20 July 2005 (UTC)
You are saying that all of his views are encapsulated in the 4 reasons he will face a tough confirmation. I am saying that is not necessarily the case. To list his most controversial views as his only views, and to frame them not in the way he would but in the way those opposing him would, is just plain un-neutral. If it were a list of his controversial views, or a list of reasons he might be opposed, I would support it whole heartedly. As a list of his judicial views PERIOD it doesn't do it's job fairly.

Regarding the case of interstate commerce and the "hapless toad", first a case citation (i.e. the name of the case) would be an important addition. Also, the quotes chosen do not, IMHO, further illustrate his position (as opposed completing the same sentence without quoting him). I humbly suggest finding a more substantial (lengthier, providing more context) and more logically based quote that further illustrates the legal basis for his dissent. Perhaps something that clarifies _why_ interstate commerce would prevent the government from protecting this species. - DL

The case is Rancho Viejo vs. Gale A. Norton. After a three-man panel had ruled agains Viejo, they petitioned for a full en banc hearing. The petition was denied with Roberts dissenting. Roberts argued that using the commerce clause to justify the result in this case was in conflict with recent precedents of the Supreme Court and with the rational used by the 5th Circuit in a similar case. Roberts suggested that the petition for an en banc hearing be granted to give the court a chance to clarify the legal issues and craft a grounds more in keeping with Supreme Court guidence and the other circuits. Judge Sentelle of the D.C. curcuit also dissented mostly on the grounds that the reasoning between the 5th circuit and D.C. courts was in conflict and needed to be sorted out.

Too Many Links

This article is drowning in blue hypertext. Many terms and dates are linked over and over again. Like "July 19," linked nearly a dozen times in one screenful of text. This drives users away and makes the actual content hard to read. Don't get me wrong: I think liberal use of links is a good thing. But not the same term over and over. This article currently has Supreme Court, George Bush, and other terms linked multiple times. -asx- 05:26, 20 July 2005 (UTC)

Links should be linked so that the software knows they are dates and can change them to match the user preference. Evil MonkeyHello 05:30, 20 July 2005 (UTC)
I agree, the article seems link heavy. Removing duplicates would porbably help. EDIT: I think I got most of the double links... Still alot of links. -Falcorian 05:37, July 20, 2005 (UTC)
What I meant to write above was that "Dates should be linked so that the software knows they are dates and can change them to match the user preference.". As such I have relinked the one date that was unlinked. Evil MonkeyHello 07:06, 20 July 2005 (UTC)
That rationale applies only to the month and date, correct? I don't think there's any reason to keep linking "2005" over and over. Not wanting to tackle that chore, though, I've removed some of the other duplicate links, and tried to make the treatment of the Bushes consistent with policy (uses of full names and honorifics). JamesMLane 11:22, 20 July 2005 (UTC)
Indeed, it must have a month and day at least, although it also works if it has a year, so years, months, or days by themselves can be de-linked without messing up formating. -Falcorian 15:46, July 20, 2005 (UTC)
Actually the year also has to be linked for the preference to work properly. Of course it really only affects people if they are using the date format "2005 July 20". If you are using "20 July 2005" format then not linking the year can result in the dates appearing like "20 July, 2005" if the person wrote the date with a comma. Evil MonkeyHello 21:44, 20 July 2005 (UTC)
Indeed, but years alone do not need to be linked, as in 2005. -Falcorian 23:12, July 20, 2005 (UTC)
(that is alot of colons!) Yeah you are right. Must read what is written not what I think is there. Evil MonkeyHello 00:33, 21 July 2005 (UTC)

Gay Marriage

Gay marriage is a hot topic these days. Has anyone got anything on what this guy's position on that is? Since the whole FMA thing was about a feared conflict between the executive and judicial branches' positions on the issue in light of the recent events in Canada's courts, some mention of the stance taken by this nominee should be made here, even if it's just something he said in an interview and not in court. Dave

Agree. This is indeed a hot topic, and is something that could potentially come before the Court in his time. However, I would caution against anything that reflects only his personal opinion of gays or gay marriage. Rather we should find something about his opinion on the _legality_ of gay marriage, or better yet the _constitutionality_ of it (or of laws that allow or ban it). (Just trying to head of this debate before it even starts. <g/>) Possibly something relating to the conflict between the executive and judicial that Dave mentioned would be helpful? - DL

Past Court Cases.

  • "In his role on the Court of Appeals, Roberts wrote the unanimous decision for a three-judge panel rejecting the civil rights claims brought on behalf of a 12-year-old girl who had been handcuffed, arrested and taken away by police for eating one French fry in the D.C. Metro" source.
  • The section "Political and judicial views" discusses mostly cases he tried as an attorney. Unless there's something I'm unaware of, this seems relatively un-indicative of his own views since as a lawyer one tries the cases, and the sides on the cases, that one is hired to do. Cases he tried as an attorney are not inappropriate to the article, but belong in a different section. What would seem more relevant to this section would be some of the cases he presided over as a judge, and some information on his "Constitutional philosophy" so to speak. - DL
  • True, BUT... attorneys do not need to accept every case offered to them. In fact, as morality (surprisingly) becomes more and more of an issue with attorneys, they turn down more and more cases; They simply refuse to argue in ways conflicting with their personal beliefs or for someone they believe to be guilty. To me, the fact that Roberts has even argued for such cases shows me one of two things: his moral guideline (or lack thereof) or his weak backbone (to support any idea people are willing to pay him to support). I believe this is what the author indended to show in this section.
  • Statements about his moral stature and the state of his backbone are opinions. Let's present facts, in the appropriate context, and let readers decide for themselves what they think of Roberts' morals. As for choosing cases, correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think a deputy solicitor general gets to choose his cases. As for private practice, again correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe he was never a partner in the practice and I think that means he would have had to try the cases that the partners told him to. However, I think the changes made are good: dividing between "judicial opinions" and "arguments on behalf of clients" and specifying in the latter case who he was arguing for (President and Attorney General, and clients). Good work everyone! - DL
  • I restored the paragraph about the authors of the Rust brief that anon deleted. I think it's helpful for putting the brief in context and judging how well it represents Roberts's views on the subject. Does anyone disagree? TheGoodReverend 16:17, 21 July 2005 (UTC)

Hogan & Hartson Link

Someone keeps removing my links to HHLaw. Can this be justified? Isn't it expected that such a valuable link be made available when it's known? User:Slonob

I suspect the correct way to do this is create a wiki page for Hogan & Hartson that explains what they are/do and have a link from there to the H&H website. In the Roberts article references should be wiki'd... Hogan & Hartson. --Paul 16:23, 23 July 2005 (UTC)

Yearbook photo

Does anyone agree that the yearbook photo doesn't belong? If we had baby pictures, would we upload them too? It doesn't seem to add anything to this article to see what he looked like 30 years ago. —Cleared as filed. 03:56, July 20, 2005 (UTC)

Agree. The yearbook photo adds little to the article. Chip Unicorn 04:07, 20 July 2005 (UTC)
Disagree. It's customary to include this kind of photo in a biographical sketch. I will bet you a dollar that photos of his childhood/young adulthood will be included with his write-ups in Newsweek and Time magazines next week. Besides which, photos simply make articles more interesting, automatically. -asx- 04:20, 20 July 2005 (UTC)
You're right about that. See this article from the NY Times. It has a bunch of old pictures. --Flex 12:42, July 21, 2005 (UTC)

Speculation about the direction of the court

By its nature, a nomination of a SCOTUS justice is significantly about the impact that his confirmation to the court will have. Would a section such as the following be useful in this article?:

==Potential immediate impact of Roberts replacing O'Connor==
One immediate impact of the Roberts replacement of O'Connor may be in close cases where O'Connor joined the liberal justices in the majority, where Roberts may have joined the conservative justices instead. Listed below are cases decided by a 5 to 4 vote, where O'Connor joined the liberal justices of the court in the majority:

Of course, specific details about these decisions would be added as well. If not a section of this article, we could create a daughter article on the speculation on the impact on the direction of the court. NoSeptember 13:37, 20 July 2005 (UTC)

IMHO, it's a bad idea. Unless and until he's on the court, we don't actually know how he's going to vote on any issue. (Remember Justice Souter.) We should focus on what he's actually said and done. Chip Unicorn 14:15, 20 July 2005 (UTC)
Perhaps appropriate would be a generalized comment that the nomination was a matter of particular interest because O'Connor was often the swing vote in close decisions, without listing specific cases. This CNN story calls her that (and also reports that she "has dismissed the swing vote label"). JamesMLane 14:52, 20 July 2005 (UTC)
The problem with the swing vote label is that, in 5-4 decisions, any of the five majority justices are a potential swing vote because any one of them could swing to the other side. TheGoodReverend 17:26, 20 July 2005 (UTC)
Well, but none of the other 4 of the 5 in these decisions are being replaced right now. The point is that if he votes differently to O'Conner on them, he'll cause a different outcome. Cromis 19:29, 20 July 2005 (UTC)
O'Connor is considered a swing vote in that she's ideologically in the middle and so less predictable. I think there've been several terms of the Court in which O'Connor wrote or joined in the fewest dissents, because her vote was most likely to be the decisive one. JamesMLane 22:54, 20 July 2005 (UTC)

Can these photos be used

Can the photos at this government link be used? Are they public domain? whicky1978 14:20, July 20, 2005 (UTC) white house link

I do believe so, as they were taken by a public employee during their work hours as part of their job. -Falcorian 15:53, July 20, 2005 (UTC)

absolutely. i think. after all, if official white house portraits are in the public domain, why shouldn't these be? all paid for by our tax dollars.
If someone has uploaded them, please provide a link. There are some articles that could use these pictures, such as this one: Bush Supreme Court candidates NoSeptember 14:43, 21 July 2005 (UTC)
Thanks to TheGoodReverend for adding the picture to the article I mentioned above. NoSeptember 15:39, 21 July 2005 (UTC)

As far as I know, nobody has uploaded them. I thought I would ask before I did it. 12:21, 22 July 2005 (UTC)

I uploaded the photo from the conference that you can see in the article. Feel free to do the others. TheGoodReverend 12:42, 22 July 2005 (UTC)


Does he own any pets? --Fastflam 14:48, 20 July 2005 (UTC)

The Financial Markets

Has he ever expressed any opinions that might be pertinent to the financial markets. I don't mean the dictum about the frog who lived in California. I mean, for example, insider-trading prosecutions? Securities-fraud civil lawsuits? Enron-style accounting chicanery? Protection for corporate whistle blowers? --Christofurio 15:11, July 20, 2005 (UTC)

Judicial Philosophy

There's probably a better term for this than "constitutional philosophy" so if anyone knows one, let me know. Basically what I'm getting at is what is his philosophy on how the Constitution should be interpreted? There are terms for some of the different views on this, but I don't recall any of those offhand... I'll see if I can find some examples. Saying that he's a member of the Federalist Society is a clue, but if there's any more information, that would be very nice to have. - DL

Okay, I guess I was close. "Judicial philosophy" seems to be the term, or at least the one used elsewhere in Wikipedia. Some examples of what I'm talking about can be found here: - DL

Roberts a Political Figure?

The introductory paragraph refers to Judge Roberts as Political Figure. Since, to my knowledge, he has never run for office or pursued politics professionally I believe this is an incorrect characterization. The only possible justification for this description is that his appointment must be approved by the Senate and it is causing a lot of politics. Using such reasoning, almost anyone mentioned in the Congressional Records could be referred to as a Political Figure and it makes the term almost useless. G.W. Bush is a political figure, Chuck Schumer is a political figure, but John Roberts and, for instance, Stephen Breyer are not political figures, and describing them as such has no vaild reason I can see other than providing a rationale for the political storm that seems to brewing. Since we are having a revision war on these two words, I would like to see the justification for using this term. --Paul 19:38, 20 July 2005 (UTC)

Agree with Paul. He may be a figure of some immediate political controversy, but that can be true of anyone who is ever nominated to serve in any capacity. Whig 19:41, 20 July 2005 (UTC)
Agreed. I don't know if calling him a political figure adds anything, because I don't see how he's political beyond his already mentioned roles as lawyer and jurist. Those roles themselves might be political, to a degree, but whether or not they are, without any other way in which he is political, there is no need to add a third term. TheGoodReverend 20:38, 20 July 2005 (UTC)
He served in the Justice Department under two separate administrations in top positions, then later served as assistant White House Counsel. Of course he has "never run for office"—that's why I termed him a "political figure," rather than a "politician," a crucial difference. I'm reinstating. --Neutralitytalk 00:41, July 21, 2005 (UTC)
Fair enough. I can see how a member of an executive agency could be deemed a political figure. I wonder if using a term like "Justice Department official" would be less polarizing. TheGoodReverend 00:56, 21 July 2005 (UTC)
Another term would be better to save on polarization, but the current lable is not innaccurate. "Justice Department Official" doesn't do justice to the situation given his history. Darker Dreams 06:53, 21 July 2005 (UTC)
  • The current label is inaccurate and needlessly provocative. Today's NY Times headline reads "A Life That Is Light On Politics But Rooted In Law and Faith." Do we know something they don't know? Roberts has never had policy job in the government as opposed to many Washington lawyers. Every one of his five government jobs were law jobs where you had to be an attorney to do them: law clerk, special assistant to the Attorney General, Associate Counsel to the President, Deputy Solicitor General, COA Judge. Now tell me, which of those jobs makes Roberts a political figure? (BTW, none of these positions are "top positions" in the Justice department, and his stint in the White House was when he was in his 20s in low-level positions). More than half of his career has been spent as a corporate attorney, and the other part has been spent as a government attorney. Attorney and jurist are accurate and sufficient descriptions of Roberts career. Political figure is a distortion and is clearly misused here. --Paul 13:05, 21 July 2005 (UTC)
I also contend the current label as "political figure" is inaccurate, but I understand User:Neutrality's view that Roberts' service in two Administrations & as Assistant WH Counsel is relevant. Why not take the safe route and just report the objective facts:
John Glover Roberts, Jr. (born January 27, 1955) is an American attorney, jurist, and political figure. He is currently a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, and previously served in the Justice Department under two Republican Administrations and as assistant White House Counsel to President GHW Bush."
Thus we don't have to debate if he is a political figure, or whether he was in "top positions" or anything. Just give the facts. Kaisershatner 18:04, 21 July 2005 (UTC)
This is a reasonable solution. How about this working of the paragraph (he didn't work in DOJ for Bush I & the details of what the actual positons were can be found further along in the article)?:
John Glover Roberts, Jr. (born January 27, 1955) is an American attorney and jurist. He is currently a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, and has held positions in two Republican Administrations as well as in private law practice.
--Paul 18:20, 21 July 2005 (UTC)
Disagreed: As a judge, and now a nominee for the Supreme Court, Roberts absolutely is a political figure. Here's the definition of political, which should remove any doubt:
1. Of, relating to, or dealing with the structure or affairs of government, politics, or the state. [2]
1 a : of or relating to government, a government, or the conduct of government [3]
Paul says, Roberts is not political because "he has never run for office or pursued politics professionally," but as you can see, that's not the definition of "political." People, I think, are getting hung up on the 2nd definition of "political":
2. Relating to, involving, or characteristic of politics or politicians.
-asx- 03:07, 22 July 2005 (UTC)
I agree with -asx-, he is a political figure at least, not to say that he is a politician. Voice of All(MTG) 03:15, July 22, 2005 (UTC)
I'm sorry, but this doesn't clear anything up. Of course political has the dictionary meanings you cite, but the true meaning in the real world is contextual. I could correctly label someone as a political scientist but if I were to call them a political figure I would probably be wrong. I could call someone a student and be correct, but if I called them an academic figure it might seem correct to a Martian with a dictionary, but it is clearly wrong in context unless the person has an academic avocation. We are not stringing together words about John Roberts for a Martian with a dictionary, we are writing an encyclopedia entry that accurately and with a NPOV describes who and what. By describing Roberts as a politcal figure we are implying that his career has been political when everything you read about his background makes it very clear that he has lived an apolitical life immersed in the law. Just because someone is passing through a politcal process does not make them a politcal figure. None of the other American Jurists I looked up on Wikipedia are described as politcal figures; those entries are correct, the Roberts one is not. --Paul 04:22, 22 July 2005 (UTC)
I think there is a misunderstanding that the judicial branch of government is not political, and that the law or judicial system are removed from politics. And to a martian reading the US Constitution, it might look that way. ;) But to those of us who live in this country, we know that the Court and law are deeply political. Laws are made by politicians. They are enforced by the Executive branch. And ruled above by judges. In a nutshell, that's politics.
You say, "he has lived an apolitical life immersed in the law." But he has lived a life working for Republican and conservative figures and causes, including in government.
You say, "Just because someone is passing through a politcal process does not make them a politcal figure." OK, but that's not what I am saying makes him political. I'm saying his role as judge all by itself makes him political -- because he works in government. The fact that his career has been devoted to working on political issues lends further support to the contention that he is a political figure. -asx- 05:31, 22 July 2005 (UTC)

I think that Kaisershatner had a good suggestion that puts Roberts into perspective regarding his Executive Branch experience but which doesn't tar him with the inaccuracy and lobbying implied by the political figure label. --Paul 04:22, 22 July 2005 (UTC)
Whether or not we conceive of judges and court nominees as political or political figures, there remains the question whether calling him a "political figure" adds anything when we already refer to him as attorney and jurist. If all jurists are political figures, the addition of the broader label seems unnecessary. All ducks are birds, so we wouldn't have to call Daffy Duck an American duck, cartoon character, and bird. The real question is whether Roberts is a political figure in some sense beyond the already mentioned attorney and jurist roles. TheGoodReverend 04:01, 22 July 2005 (UTC)
'I agree; 'all good points. Let me add a couple of points. First, my point was that if we are having a discussion about whether Roberts is a political figure, it would be worthwhile for people to discover the meaning of the word "political." The discussion indicated that people misunderstood what the word meant. Second, whether we actually need to use the term is (as you say) another question altogether. I don't think it adds much of anything to the article. In my opinion, being more specific (judge) is better than the broader term (political figure). Finally, I think we all need to come to terms with the fact that Roberts has been actively political for almost 3 decades, working in government furthering the conservative Republican agenda. Conservatives need to have the courage of their convictions and not attempt to conceal this fact under a false understanding of neutrality. -asx- 05:12, 22 July 2005 (UTC)
I'm sure you didn't mean to imply that the suggestion to remove the term "political figure" is in some way an attempt to "conceal...under a false understanding of neutrality," but rather that conservatives should admit that Roberts is conservative (something that no-one here is disputing, to my knowledge). Since you agree that the term "political figure" doesn't add much to the article, that leaves only Voice of All(MTG) against removing the term "political figure," and replacing it with the objective, indisputable, and factual description of Robert's previous employment, and letting the reader decide if that makes him a political figure - Right? Kaisershatner 14:03, 22 July 2005 (UTC)

Here's the first paragraph of a Washington Post article that appeared on the front page today:

As an up-and-coming young lawyer in the White House counsel's office from 1982 to 1986, John G. Roberts Jr. weighed in on some of the most controversial issues facing the Reagan administration, balancing conservative ideology with a savvy political pragmatism and a confidence that belied his years.
And here's some more, later in the article: The Reagan-era memos portray a cocksure young lawyer whose writing was clear, highly attuned to political realities and occasionally sarcastic.
Roberts has served in top advisory positions in two presidential administrations. In this capacity, he wrote political memos, gave advice to prominent political figures. In this capacity he was plainly not a bureaucrat nor a jurist, and was not a politician either. Describing Roberts as a "political figure" in addition to an "attorney" and "jurist" is clear and informative, and is most certainly not a criticism of him. --Neutralitytalk 04:19, July 22, 2005 (UTC)
Neutrality makes a good point. A Political figure does not have to run for office and campaign in order to be highly involved in politics(see above examples). And since his name is pretty important right now, and must have been politically important before(since Bush nominated him) he is a political figure. Nobody is insulting Judge Roberts by saying that. Also, the Bench of SCOTUS is of political importance, even though the Judicial branch is supposed to be "above politics." And I am NOT against an "objective, indisputable, and factual description" of Judge Roberts. I could say that you, Kaisershatner, aren't acknowledging Robert's political roles mentioned above and that you are against "objective, indisputable, and factual description..blah..blah." These kind of statements could go on forever and would just be a serious of meaningless attacks. Anyway, I think that Roberts is a clear headed respectable judge, unlike some nominees. In fact, I agree with his reasoning as to the flaws in Roe v Wade, but I am still pro-choice(God, I hate that term). The point is that "political figure" is not baised, I don't think he is some politician, and that I am not against fairness, so STOP saying that...peace out :-)... Voice of All(MTG) 17:11, July 22, 2005 (UTC)
Peace! I'm just saying that describing his career is more accurate, less contentious, and less subject to POV bias than trying to get a consensus on the meaning of "political figure," but we seem to agree on that - Best, Kaisershatner 18:33, 22 July 2005 (UTC)
Sorry about that, but you only mentioned me(not Kizzle) and you use three words that describe NPOV and then said "let the reader decide." It just seemed like you where focused on putting NPOV on one side and me on the other. Anyway, I don't care too much which one you choose, nor does Kizzle, it seems, I don't know about user Neutrality. I'd say keep it, but if you want to remove "political figure" it shouldn't make too much of a difference if the article explores his political aspects a bit. Voice of All(MTG) 19:03, July 22, 2005 (UTC)
Since five users here either agree with removing "political figure" or agree with the potentially NPOV aspects of leaving it and don't care if it is removed, while only two are adamant about keeping it, I have changed the introductory paragraph accordingly. --Paul 16:18, 25 July 2005 (UTC)

Hamdan case

The capsule summary needs some work to clarify the issues a bit, but not sure how to go about this without introducing too much POV. I recommend reading the opinion to get a firmer grasp of the issues and the reasoning of the court. One interesting item that I think deserves mention is that the court believes that even though Afghanistan is a contracting party to the Geneva Conventions, al Qaeda is not, and that the US is supposedly "at war" with al Qaeda separately from its involvement in Afghanistan. It's curious reasoning indeed, at p. 15 of 22 in the PDF. Whig 20:02, 20 July 2005 (UTC)

  • on such distinctions does law live and breath... Darker Dreams 06:50, 21 July 2005 (UTC)

Keetoowah deleted the ending comment about further review from the end of this paragraph. Here is what I believe that comment was referring to:

Suppose we are mistaken about Common Article 3.

Suppose it does cover Hamdan. Even then we would abstain from testing the military commission against the requirement in Common Article 3(1)(d) that sentences must be pronounced “by a regularly constituted court affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples.” See Councilman, 420 U.S. at 759; New, 129 F.3d at 644; supra Part I. Unlike his arguments that the military commission lacked jurisdiction, his argument here is that the commission’s procedures -- particularly its alleged failure to require his presence at all stages of the proceedings -- fall short of what Common Article 3 requires. The issue thus raised is not whether the commission may try him, but rather how the commission may try him. That is by no stretch a jurisdictional argument. No one would say that a criminal defendant’s contention that a district court will not allow him to confront the witnesses against him raises a jurisdictional objection. Hamdan’s claim therefore falls outside the recognized exception to the Councilman doctrine. Accordingly, comity would dictate that we defer to the ongoing military proceedings. If Hamdan were convicted, and if Common Article 3 covered him, he could contest his conviction in federal court after he exhausted his military


There's a level of supposition there in between. Should the reference to further review after conviction be reinserted in a reworded form, or left out altogether? TheGoodReverend 13:55, 21 July 2005 (UTC)

Judge Willams on page 21 of the opinion also says:

I concur in all aspects of the cour's opinion except for the conclusion that Common Aritcle 3 does not apply to the United States's conduct toward al Qaeda personnel captured in the conflict in Afghanistan. Maj. Op. 15-16. Because I agree that the Geneva Convention is not enforceable in courts of the United States, and that any claims under Common Ariticle 3 should be deferred until proceedings against Hamdan are finished. I fully agree with the court's judgement.

I think the reference to further review should be reinstated, as it correctly conveys the implied invitation of the court for further judicial review after "proceedings against Hamdan are finished." --Paul 14:05, 21 July 2005 (UTC)