Then And Now
Judge Roberts and Thurgood Marshall took [are taking] similar paths to the Supreme Court. Each was an excellent advocate, and each worked with Presidents prior to elevation. And each were nominated when Sen. Teddy Kennedy was in the U. S. Senate. So what does he have to say?
In his June 20, floor speech responding to President Bush's nomination of Roberts to the Supreme Court, Kennedy argued that senators "must not fail in our duty to the American people to responsibly examine Judge Roberts' legal views."Then (photo leaving his Presidential hopes funeral).
The Massachusetts Democrat said he is troubled by Roberts' strict interpretation of the Constitution's "commerce clause" and added that "other aspects of Judge Roberts' record also raise important questions about his commitment to individual rights.
"What little we know about his views and values lends even greater importance and urgency to his responsibility to provide the Senate and the American people with clear answers."
"Judge Roberts represented clients in [cases over hot button issues], but we have a
duty to ask where he stands on these issues," Kennedy continued. "[T]he nominee will be expected to answer fully, so that the American people will know whether Judge Roberts will uphold their rights."
Video/Audio of both statements.
During the 1967 confirmation debate over the nomination of then-Solicitor General Thurgood Marshall to the Supreme Court, however, Kennedy held a different view about the types of questions the nominee should be required to answer. Film footage obtained by Cybercast News Service shows Kennedy's response to the prospect of senators asking Marshall questions about how he might rule in future cases.
"We have to respect that any nominee to the Supreme Court would have to defer any comments on any matters, which are either before the court or very likely to be before the court," Kennedy said during a 1967 press conference. "This has been a procedure which has been followed in the past and is one which I think is based upon sound legal precedent."