Senate Judiciary Hearings on Judge John Roberts: Chance for Grandstanding or Serious Debate?

Washington, DC, September 13, 2005—As questioning begins today in the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings for the nomination of D.C. Circuit Court Judge John Roberts as Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, one constitutional law expert says to expect more grandstanding from Senators than substantive questioning. The Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Counsel for Special Projects and constitutional law expert, Hans Bader, doesn’t see the need for these kinds of hearings.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office” />


“Congressional hearings on Supreme Court nominees are a recent phenomenon,” says Bader. “Before the 20th century, a nomination went straight to the floor for debate and a vote. These hearings today don’t provide any real substance. It just gives Senators a chance to grandstand, and nominees take a ‘less is more’ approach in answering questions. They don’t reveal much.”


As an attorney, Bader has handled several Supreme Court cases, including one involving the scope of Congress’ power under the Commerce Clause and the Fourteenth Amendment. The Supreme Court limited Congress’s power under both, which angered Senator Arlen Specter, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Bader says Roberts can expect questions on the United States v. Morrison decision.


Bader’s prior casework includes suits involving the First Amendment, federalism, and civil rights issues. He graduated from the <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags” />University of Virginia with a B.A. in economics and history and earned his J.D. from Harvard Law School. Before joining CEI, Bader was senior counsel at the Center for Individual Rights, a libertarian public interest law group. He also served as a law clerk for a U.S. District Court judge in Santa Ana, California.  



Constitutional Law Expert Available for Interviews

Hans Bader

Counsel for Special Projects


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