Friday, September 30, 2005

Ronald Dworkin on Justice Roberts

The New York review of Books just published an interesting article by R Dworkin on Justice Roberts.

Dworkin examines Roberts' constitutional philosophy as resulting from previous opinions and Senate hearings, and his conclusion is that: " Roberts succeeded in leaving it entirely unclear [...]." Dworkin blames both Roberts, for his failure to disclose his broader constitutional views, and the Senate, for not pressing harder on these important issues. Dworkin then concluded that:

We must hope that it has learned from its failures in the Roberts nomination. It should demand to know the new nominee's constitutional philosophy. If he or she refuses to disclose it, or claims that it is only to respect the rule of law and adds nothing more helpful about what that means, then its constitutional duty is to advise the Senate to reject that nominee as either disingenuous or incompetent.

Interestingly, Dworkin's main worry does not concern cases such as Roe v Wade, or other controversial precedent of the US Supreme Court on matter of civil liberties as applied to US citizens. Instead, he worries that the main source of worries will come from the issue of the 'President's power to conduct his war against terrorism without regard for either international law or the traditional rights of prisoners.'

According to Dworkin, Justice Roberts record is worring because 'Roberts joined an opinion declaring that the courts must show great deference to the President's opinion that international treaties, including the Geneva Conventions, do not protect the Guantánamo prisoners.'

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