CBS News legal analyst Andrew Cohen vented yesterday on CBSNews.com about how mum John Roberts has been during questioning, refusing to take the bait on hot-button questions posed by liberal senators. But in doing so, Cohen gives away his bias: he'd prefer a Supreme Court justice who believes in judicial activism, rather than judicial restraint:



Gloria Borger's Early Show recap of yesterday's confirmation hearings for Judge John Roberts was dominated by exchanges with liberal senators pressing the Chief Justice nominee from the Left on abortion, but Borger closed off her report noting that conservatives are concerned about Roberts's views on overturning Roe v. Wade: "Conservatives are listening very closely to what Judge Roberts has to say about Roe versus Wade."



Some noteworthy quotes from Tuesday's broadcast network evening newscast coverage of the Senate's confirmation hearing for Supreme Court nominee John Roberts. ABC's Linda Douglass saw civil rights through a liberal prism as, over a picture of Roberts with Ronald Reagan, she relayed how “Democrats hammered him about things he wrote as a young government lawyer 25 years ago, when the Reagan administration was fighting against expanding civil rights laws.” Conservatives would contend Reagan was just trying to ensure equal treatment of all races. Douglass also highlighted questions about the improper influence of Roberts' religious beliefs, as if anyone with them is disqualified: “Democrats made clear they suspect Roberts, a devout Catholic, will lower the wall between church and state. One Senator quoted John Kennedy.” Viewers then heard Senator Dianne Feinstein recite: “I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute.”

Over on CBS, Gloria Borger negatively framed Roberts' views on another topic: "The only woman on the panel grilled Roberts on his old legal memos, which appear to disparage women and their complaints about unequal pay." Borger repeatedly used the term “abortion rights” and Bob Schieffer hoped: “When he says today that Roe v. Wade is a 'settled legal precedent,' as he calls it, does that mean he supports abortion rights?"

NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams trumpeted the liberal ideology of Arlen Specter, the Republican Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and how Specter is "unafraid to act independently." Williams touted: “He says his brushes with death have made him hyper-aware of the life-saving possibilities of stem cell research. He brought an hour glass to a Senate hearing, he says, to point out time's a-wastin'." Williams soon championed how “from his earliest days in politics, on the staff of the Warren Commission, running for mayor of Philadelphia in 1967, to his 25 years in Congress, Specter has been unafraid to act independently. It's a virtue he believes will serve him well throughout these hearings."

Transcripts, compiled by the MRC's Brad Wilmouth, follow.



Coming out of the John Roberts opening statement at 3:30 on MSNBC, anchor Brian Williams asked Tim Russert that Roberts is "not a perjurer or a lawbreaker that we know of," but how can one greet his claim that he has no agenda? That's quite a dramatic way of suggesting Roberts may not be trustworthy.



Jim Hughes of the Denver Post covers the local activists on both sides of the Robert nomination this morning. Sort of.

Of 18 paragraphs, three discuss the pro-Roberts Judicial Confirmation Network, four equate the two sides, and seven discuss NARAL and other left-wing opponents of a sane judiciary. (Four paragraphs are neutral, not mentioning the activists directly.)

While the Post is silent on the conservatives' desiderata, the coverage of the lefties includes the following:



Just a quick note to prepare you for the fair and balanced coverage of the John Roberts confirmation hearings you’ll surely be reading in the coming days.



Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist died late Saturday evening.  As reported by Gina Holland of AP:

Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist died Saturday evening of cancer, ending a remarkable 33-year tenure on the Supreme Court and creating a rare second vacancy on the nation's highest court.

Rehnquist, 80, was surrounded by his three children when he died at his home in suburban Arlington.

Sadly, the AP couldn’t wait to remind its readers of Mr. Rehnquist’s political leanings, his involvement in the Florida Recount Debacle, or that this will likely impact the upcoming hearings for the appointment of John Roberts to replace the recently retired Sandra Day O’Connor:



The big three broadcast networks have been mostly silent during the run-up to the Senate's hearings on Supreme Court nominee John Roberts, with just a handful of evening news stories over the last five weeks. But big papers such as the Washington Post have been busily poring over Roberts' writings, hunting for the legal brief or memo that might put his seemingly-assured confirmation in doubt.



Another week, another opportunity for NPR's Nina Totenberg to discover that Supreme Court nominee John Roberts is conservative and to caution us about it anew.


NB: I wrote this after David Limbaugh's post on the same matter, but unaware of his post.

The Washington Post's Jo Becker uses Judge John Roberts preference of the term "War Between the States" (WBTS) to title the American Civil War as a jumping off point to subtly accuse the Supreme Court nominee of being sympathetic to Southern secession. File this bias under scraping the bottom of the barrel.



I find these daily investigative forays into Judge Roberts' decades-old work product amusing, until I consider that those writing these stories must truly be serious.



NPR’s Nina Totenberg is repeatedly surprised by how conservative Supreme Court nominee John Roberts really is, apparently not cognizant of all of her earlier pronouncements about his conservatism. On Inside Washington over the weekend, she declared that after reviewing memos he wrote while working in the Reagan White House counsel’s office, “he is much more conservative than I ever would have guessed.