In Dicta

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Comparing Luttig and Roberts

The Washington Post publishes this article which begins:

"John G. Roberts Jr. and J. Michael Luttig have both marched up through the Republican ranks, from Supreme Court clerkships to White House jobs to the federal bench.

Now the two area judges -- Roberts sits on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit; Luttig is a Tysons Corner-based member of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit -- have emerged on President Bush's short list of potential nominees to the Supreme Court, according to lawyers familiar with the administration's deliberations.

Conservative activists in the Republican base view both as far more acceptable than Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales, who has become a top contender for the court, and have begun to promote the pair. But even though both judges are conservative -- and close friends -- they present a distinctly different choice in style and temperament that could influence their selection and say a great deal about how Bush wants to shape the court.

In his years as a lawyer, Roberts, 50, proved himself an affable and measured member of the Washington legal establishment. But his short tenure on the bench has meant fewer written opinions that can be parsed for his philosophy.

Luttig, 51, is edgier, painting his ideas in bold intellectual strokes. He has left a long paper trail that liberal critics will try to mine to fight his appointment."