CBS Legal Eagle Bets Ranch on Confirmation, Hopes Roberts Is the New O'Connor

In his analysis piece on whether Judge John Roberts will face smooth sailing towards confirmation or be shipwrecked by a liberal Democratic "Borking," CBS News legal analyst Andrew Cohen says to "Go Ahead and Bet the Ranch" that Roberts is the next associate justice of the US Supreme Court.

After going over how he thinks Roberts will not face any major snags on the abortion issue or his views on the Endangered Species Act, Cohen not-too-subtly hints that he hopes Roberts becomes an O'Connoresque "disappointment" to President Bush and Bush's most conservative supporters, saying that the nation "needs him to grow into his job":

Once Roberts is affirmed, he no longer can or will be beholden to the man who gave him the job. He will be his own man, free to chart his own path through the thicket of the law.

Indeed, the nation needs him to grow into his job; needs him to cut the very ties that got him to where he is today. Becoming a Supreme Court Justice may mean never having to say you are sorry. But it also means you have have to strive to rise about the political froth that churned out your name in your time.

Roberts may be precisely the sort of Justice that President Bush hopes he will be. Or he may be another David Souter, Anthony Kennedy or Sandra Day O'Connor, all of whom were less (or more) than their patrons bargained for.

The irony, of course, is that disappointing the guy who gave you the job doesn't necessarily mean you end up being a disappointing Justice. Just ask Lady Justice herself, the soon-to-be-departed Justice O'Connor, who rides off into the Western sunset as popular and revered as ever despite a recent string of rulings that would have popped President Ronald Reagan's hair out of place.

Remember that nice tee shot by President Bush, the one that started off just to the right of the fairway? Well, over time, those shots have a way of bending back to the middle before they are done.

Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd is a writer living in New Carrollton, Md.