The parallels between the Souter fiasco and the cheerleading we're hearing for Roberts are eerie. George W. Bush is not of the same stripe as his father; he's proven that much. But still one wonders what he's thinking when we ponder the fact that nobody knows this guy's judicial philosophy. Indeed, Roberts says he doesn't have one.
In his 1996 political autobiography "Combat: Twelve Years in the U.S. Senate," [liberal Republican Senator Warren] Rudman....wrote that he was convinced Souter would vote to uphold Roe v. Wade just by listening to Souter's confirmation hearing testimony before the Senate in 1990.Stare decisis, by the way, is another way of saying something "is the settled law of the land."
"I thought that throughout his testimony, he had given clues to anyone who would listen, that neither as a believer in stare decisis (the Latin term for judicial respect for precedent), nor as a compassionate human being, was he likely to vote against Roe," Rudman wrote in his book.
Rudman also revealed a behind-the-scenes strategy that the Bush administration used to make it appear Souter would side with the pro-life community.
"I suspected that the president was less concerned with how his nominee eventually voted on Roe than that he or she be nominated without a fight," Rudman explained.
Rudman also questioned President George H. W. Bush's commitment to the pro-life movement. "Earlier in his career, Bush had been pro-choice; then he embraced the pro-life cause when he attached himself to Ronald Reagan, but I doubted that his original feelings had changed," Rudman wrote.
While Rudman claimed he did not know how Souter would rule on Roe v. Wade, he was confident the justice would not disappoint abortion rights supporters. "[B]ecause of his belief in stare decisis," Rudman asserted, "he would never vote to overturn the decision, knowing what turmoil that would cause in our society."