I have hitherto been silent on the matter of John Roberts, mostly a function of having been STUPID busy, but also because I wanted to be fully informed before taking a position. I have read several of his opinions. Read countless articles about him, and read the opinions of several attorneys who have practiced in front of him.
The more I learn about John Roberts, the less worried I become.
While much has been made of the positions he advocated while in practice, I tend not to consider that too much. When you're an attorney, you advocate the client's position, not your own. It just happened that his client was the President of the United States, and his client took some neanderthal positions. I should hope that if I am ever deemed fit to take the robe, the Senate doesn't run all my transcripts ("Well, you see, Judge... he didn't know that the crack was in his pocket... ummm, no I haven't figured that part out yet...").
I've read a few of his opinions, and yes, they tend to fall on the conservative side of the line. He doesn't appear to be a flaming ideolouge, and for what it's worth, I agreed with a good bit of his reasoning. I don't see him finding new rights, but I don't see him undoing much of the last 50 year's worth of civil liberties either. I think privacy is safe, although he might not expand it much. Roe will probably also survive, if limited somewhat (I don't think that these partial birth laws will get overturned, but then again that may not be so bad- politically, the costs of defending partial birth abortion might outweigh the benefits).
Roberts is such an enigma and so apparently blandly affable that he will be confirmed by a very wide margin. The White House screwed this up, though- they should have named a flaming wingnut to force a filibuster. This would have made Frist exercise the nuclear option, and the WH would have had substantial cover ("See- they wouldn't even give one nominee a fair up or down vote!"). Instead, the Dems will cast confirm Roberts, giving them the cover to filibuster the next guy ("See- when you named a reasonable Judge, we approved him quickly!")
Oh- I have to go. My dig just piddled on the carpet. More on this tomorrow.