Chuck Colson

Voting begins next week on the nomination of John Roberts as Chief Justice. And within days the president is expected to announce another nominee to replace Sandra Day O’Connor. The Supreme Court is receiving a level of attention unlike anything we’ve seen before. And Christians need to take this opportunity to educate themselves and their neighbors on why these nominations are so important.

I do not know Roberts, but on the basis of the public record, I find his nomination encouraging. This is the man who, back in 1983, wrote with dry understatement, “So long as the court views itself as ultimately responsible for governing all aspects of our society, it will, understandably, be overworked.” This is the philosophy of judicial restraint, which has guided John Roberts in his entire career. In a country where the courts now see themselves as entitled to legislate nearly every aspect of life, Roberts’s words are refreshing.

But despite his outstanding record—the highest rating by the ABA, Harvard, and Harvard Law School, a distinguished public career, and service on the second highest court in America—Roberts has been bitterly assailed by special-interests, like the National Organization for Women, People for the American Way, and others. Listen to what Women’s eNews charged: As a federal government official, Roberts “failed miserably to protect—let alone advance—women’s reproductive rights and access to health care services.” The National Organization for Women said this: “Roberts’s attitudes aren’t conservative; they’re simply backward. And women can’t afford to go that direction.”

But the purpose of Senate confirmation hearings is not to check whether a nominee’s “attitudes” are “backward” or to advance some agenda. It is to determine whether that nominee is qualified for this position. This is typical, however, of the over-the-top charges being thrown at Roberts.

And just this Sunday, the New York Times, America’s premier newspaper, editorially opposed his confirmation. Too many uncertainties, the Times says, over how he’ll decide issues. But to signal how you are going to decide issues in the future violates every standard of judicial ethics.

Chuck Colson

Chuck Colson was the Chief Counsel for Richard Nixon and served time in prison for Watergate-related charges. In 1976, Colson founded Prison Fellowship Ministries, which, in collaboration with churches of all confessions and denominations, has become the world's largest outreach to prisoners, ex-prisoners, crime victims, and their families.
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