Certainly this isn’t the only factor to consider on this nomination, but alarms go off when the association declares it “will reach out to its nationwide membership and call on other business organizations to exercise their First Amendment right to participate in this decision that is vital to business interests.” The association’s endorsement didn’t just come after the fact; CNN, in describing Roberts’ pro-business stance over the years, notes that:
In fact, the Bush administration reportedly did go over its potential nominees with business groups in an effort to build support for what is likely to be a bruising confirmation battle over social issues such as abortion and right to die. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers, headed by former Michigan governor and Bush friend John Engler, were both involved in the selection process.
Well, the business of America is business, so it must somehow make sense that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and NAM weigh in on Supreme Court nominees sure to be facing “social issues such as abortion and [the] right to die.” Engler sees something “vital to business interests,” though, so one can’t help but wonder what key topics of concern to business are being steered to land in front of the bench in the next couple of years.
Not that the endorsement is likely to change many minds or votes, laying an oppressively dull and thick veneer of uselessness atop an otherwise intriguing kernel of suspiciousness. Naral Pro-Choice America has an ad linking legal arguments made by Roberts with antiabortion violence that is just as useless in changing minds but at least lacks a hidden agenda. (The ad is arguably unfair, but Democrats and liberals condemning it fall into a trap laid by Republicans and conservatives: The last election proved that concern about the fairness of political ads and techniques is all on the left.)
At least on the surface, the more pressing concern is that the Bush administration will delay the release of Roberts’ papers until it’s too late to give them thorough study. Standards should be set on what kind of documents must be released during a court nomination process and a proportional formula written to determine how much time is needed to give them a proper read. Votes should be held a proper, codified and consistent number of weeks or months after delivery of those papers for Congressional review.
That would put an end to any question of White House delay; if they want their candidate confirmed, they’ll deliver the documents. There would also be no question of delay on the part of Congress, and no whining about not having enough time.