I mean the guy is no saint, but he's no Scalia either. Some "highlights" from Junior's two-year career:
In an environmental case, Roberts wrote a dissenting opinion that raised questions about the constitutionality of the Endangered Species Act as applied to a creature that lived entirely in one state. He also dissented from his court's refusal to reconsider a ruling that ordered Vice President Dick Cheney to release records of his energy task force.
Another Roberts opinion last year upheld -- with some reluctance -- the arrest and handcuffing of a 12-year-old girl for eating a single french fry in a D.C. rail station. He's also voted to overturn a criminal fraud conviction and allow a disability suit against the transit agency.
Okaaay . . . I wonder who goes around eating single French fries, but whatever. The Endangered Species act smells of conservative "states-rights" BS, but not so strongly that it alarms me.
In another case, Roberts joined in a ruling upholding police car trunk searches even when officers did not assert evidence of a crime.
Hm, a little unsettling considering the importance that the Patriot Act will probably hold in coming years, but nothing really crazy.
Bottom line- the guy is kind of a wild card. He could do what most "conservative" judges do once they are in office, and when faced with social issues, make the kinds of rulings that madden conservatives and reassure liberals. Pretty likely, given that he has reneged on his 1990 memo concerning Roe v. Wade (as a deputy solicitor general, he stated that he wanted it overturned, but now he says he was just representing a client.) I doubt very much that he would become the same kind of ranting ideologue that Scalia has been.
But there is this danger: the guy is the president of the Big Business fan club. While he is undoubtedly going to be grilled on the abortion issue, his stance on issues like logging, air quality regulations, trust regulations, corporate accountability and other important things will probably be left unexamined by the senate committee. I really don't think that his stance on reproductive rights should be the deciding issue here. I really believe that Roe v. Wade is pretty safe right now, but we live in a country where Ken Lay is still allowed to walk free, where roadless rules in the mountains are being overturned, where tax breaks are given to the wealthiest 1 and 2 percent and Halliburton is allowed to snap up multi-billion-dollar no-bid contracts to rebuild Iraq. While I am a staunch supporter of reproductive rights, we can't let that be the ONE issue that we use to weed out those we consider to be "ideologues" and those we consider to be "moderates."