Jennifer Biddison

Three hours after the Senate overwhelmingly approved his nomination, John Roberts became the 17th Chief Justice of the United States on Thursday.

"What Daniel Webster termed the miracle of our Constitution is not something that happens in every generation, but every generation in its turn must accept the responsibility of supporting and defending the Constitution and bearing true faith and allegiance to it," Roberts said after being sworn in.

After breathing a sigh of relief over our new Chief Justice’s commitment to the Constitution, conservatives should look around for people and organizations to thank for this victory.  One place to start would be the Center for Individual Freedom (CFIF), a small nonpartisan organization in Alexandria, Virginia, dedicated to protecting the constitutional rights of all Americans.  Founded in 1998 by Thomas Humber, a former business and public relations executive, CFIF was working on the judicial nominations issue long before it was politically popular to do so.

And while most Americans relied on the mainstream media to tell us about Roberts and his views, our pals at CFIF were poring over hundreds of documents to get the real story.  While we speculated about whether or not Roberts was a real conservative, CFIF General Counsel Reid Alan Cox knew it for sure.  “If there’s one consistent theme throughout his writings,” Cox said, “it’s that he believes the Constitution supports the idea of limited government.” 

Cox is confident that Roberts is “a very strong conservative,” but warns citizens to be careful about choosing a justice’s worthiness based on specific issues that may come before the Court.  Instead of holding each candidate to a litmus test, Cox says, we should ask how they arrive at their legal rulings.

And even though Roberts does seem to be “right” on most issues that conservatives care about, requiring him to speculate on issues such as abortion simply “politicizes the judiciary and helps the liberals,” said Cox.  Rather than picking judges who seek a particular outcome, conservatives should be looking for those who understand that the Constitution comes first and who won’t legislate from the bench.