ROBERTS DAY 2: 25 Ways To Not Answer The Question

UPDATE: The Roberts Dodge is even more telling when you hear it out loud. Heard this morning on the Bill Press Show (With Christy Harvey), here is a montage of Roberts’ sound and fury which signified absolutely nothing. Listen to it here.

Some highlights from today’s dodging and weaving:

1. “I feel the need to stay away from a discussion of specific cases.”

2. “So while I’m happy to talk about stare decisis and the importance of precedent, I don’t think I should get into the application of those principles in a particular area.”

3. “I do feel compelled to point out that I should not”¦agree or disagree with particular decisions. And I’m reluctant to do that. That’s one of the areas where I think prior nominees have drawn the line when it comes to, Do you agree with this case or do you agree with that case? And that’s something that I’m going to have to draw the line in the sand.”

4. “Well, I think that gets to the application of the principles in a particular case. And based on my review of the prior transcripts of every nominee sitting on the court today, that’s where they’ve generally declined to answer: when it gets to the application of legal principles to particular cases.”

5. “Well, again, I think I should stay away from discussions of particular issues that are likely to come before the court again. “

6. “What I’m saying is that that issue or issues related to that could well come before the court, and that’s why I have to resist answering a particular hypothetical question.”

7. “Senator, that’s a question that I don’t think can be answered in the abstract. You need to know the particular circumstances and exactly what the facts are and what the legislation would be like, because the argument on the other side — and as a judge, I would obviously be in a position of considering both arguments, the argument for the legislature and the argument for the executive.”

8. “Again, I don’t want to express conclusions on hypothetical questions, whether as applied in a particular case, where there would be a challenge in that respect. Those cases come up all the time and I do need to avoid expressing an opinion on those issues.”

9. “And I don’t know what arguments parties will be raising in those cases. So an abstract question you need to know, obviously, what’s the claim, what’s the issue, and decide it according to the rule of law.”

10. “And since those questions might well come before the court, I do need to exercise caution on that.”

11. “Well, that is in an area where I think I should not respond…”

12. “Let me explain very briefly why. It’s because if these questions come before me either on the court on which I now sit or if I am confirmed on the Supreme Court, I need to decide those questions with an open mind, on the basis of the arguments presented, on the basis of the record presented in the case and on the basis of the rule of law, including the precedents of the court — not on the basis of any commitments during the confirmation process.”

13. “Senator, my answer is that the independence and integrity of the Supreme Court requires that nominees before this committee for a position on that court not forecast, give predictions, give hints about how they might rule in cases…”

14. “Well, I don’t want to comment on any particular case but I think I can speak more generally about the approach.”

15. “I think nominees have to draw the line where they’re comfortable.”

16. “While I’m happy to talk about stare decisis and the importance of precedent, I don’t think I should get into the application of those principles in a particular area.”

17. “I’d have to consider all those before reaching a conclusion in any of those particular areas.”

18. “And so that’s an area that I do not feel it appropriate for me to comment on.”

19. “Well, again — and of course, without getting into the particulars”¦”

20. “”¦and I don’t think that I should go further to elaborate upon whether or not it applies in those particular situations.”

21. “But in terms of a separate determination on my part whether this decision is correct or that decision is correct, my review of what other nominees have done is that that’s where they draw the line and that’s where I’ve drawn the line.”

22. “But I don’t think it’s appropriate for me, given the fact that cases arise on both of those questions, to go further.”

23. “Those are issues that come up again and again before the court. And, consistent with what I understand the approach to have been of other nominees, I don’t think I should express a view on that.”

24. “Well, Senator, that is exactly one of the questions that is before the court. And I cannot answer that in the abstract”¦.An abstract opinion that would prejudge that case would be inappropriate for a nominee to express.”

25.“Well, that’s an issue that is before the court in particular cases, and I can’t comment on a case that’s coming before the court.”