Personally, I am starting to like Judge Roberts more and more:
Terri Schiavo, the brain-damaged Florida woman whose case provoked Congressional action and a national debate over end-of-life care, became an issue on Tuesday in the Supreme Court confirmation of Judge John G. Roberts Jr. when a Democratic senator pressed him about whether lawmakers should have intervened.
The senator, Ron Wyden of Oregon, said that Judge Roberts, while not addressing the Schiavo case specifically, made clear he was displeased with Congress’s effort to force the federal judiciary to overturn a court order withdrawing her feeding tube.
“I asked whether it was constitutional for Congress to intervene in an end-of-life case with a specific remedy,” Mr. Wyden said in a telephone interview after the hourlong meeting. “His answer was, ‘I am concerned with judicial independence. Congress can prescribe standards, but when Congress starts to act like a court and prescribe particular remedies in particular cases, Congress has overstepped its bounds.’ “
The answer, which Mr. Wyden said his aides wrote down word-for-word, would seem to put Judge Roberts at odds with leading Republicans in Congress, including the Senate majority leader, Bill Frist, and the House majority leader, Representative Tom DeLay, who both led the charge for Congressional intervention in the Schiavo case this spring. Mr. DeLay said at the time that the federal judiciary had “run amok.”
Mr. Wyden has a keen interest in end-of-life issues because his home state, Oregon, has a law providing for physician-assisted suicide. That law is the subject of a Supreme Court case, on the docket for Oct. 5, about whether the federal government has the right to withdraw prescribing privileges for doctors who follow the Oregon law and prescribe lethal doses of medicine to their dying patients.
Mr. Wyden said that he asked Judge Roberts whether he believed states should take the lead in regulating medical practice, and that the nominee replied that “uniformity across the country would stifle the genius of the founding fathers.”
Mr. Wyden said, “I came away with the sense that he was somewhat sympathetic to my notion that there should be a wide berth for states to take the lead.”
Sounds to me like the man understands the role of the court.