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The Idea Mag - Issue 20 - September 25th, 2005 - Front Page


Kerry On Roberts

The following is the transcript of an interview that never took place. It is a complete fabrication, except for the true parts. It represents itself as an interview between an online magazine and former presidential candidate, and heir-by-marriage to the Heinz fortune, John Kerry. It is actually the text of a Kerry e-mail, which we took and ‘played back’ while we added our two ‘sense’. Because of that, we title it, Kerryoke.

AO: Mr. Kerry, thank you for your time today. We’ll skip over the insincere pleasantries and just get to the interview. What’s on your mind today Senator?

Kerry: Monday, I shared with you my Brown University speech setting out what needs to be said and done at this critical moment for our country.

AO: If I may interrupt briefly – I missed that speech. I would assume most of our readers did as well, so you may want to take that into account.

Kerry: Today, in that same spirit of clarity and conviction, I want to tell you how I will vote on the nomination of John Roberts to serve as Chief Justice of the United States.

AO: One quick question. Honestly, during your presidential campaign you were actually very unclear on a number of issues – and to be quite frank, it didn’t seem that you really acted on some the convictions you claimed to have. So in light of –

Kerry: I will vote against this vitally important nomination.

AO: I guess that is clear. Why will you be voting that way?

Kerry: Win or lose on this vote, it is essential that we act on our deepest convictions.

AO: Again, may I remind you that you don’t have a strong record in that area yourself. For example, it seems that you view abortion as morally wrong, yet you said that you support government funding for –

Kerry: And I refuse to vote for a Supreme Court nominee who came before the Senate intent on demonstrating his ability to deftly deflect legitimate questions about his views, opinions and philosophy. John Roberts owed the American people far more than that.

AO: I’d like to go back to my last question, but first, if I understand you correctly - are you saying that John Roberts came to the senate to show off his ability to give vague non-committal answers? Isn’t that a bit like a little leaguer trying to show of in front of the New York Yankees? I’m sorry, the Boston Red Soxs? Also, I don’t see how his views, opinions, and philosophy is important to understand. For all I care his view could be that the government should subsidize professional sports, and colonize South America – as long as he simply enforces the plain meaning of the constitution, his personal views are actually irrelevant. In fact, it’s really Senators and Congressmen that should –

Kerry: If he is confirmed –

AO: That’s very possible.

Kerry: – and he may well be - the Roberts Court will shape the course of constitutional law for decades to come. It will decide dozens of cases that will define the depth and breadth of freedom in America - our commitment to civil rights, our dedication to civil liberties, our devotion to privacy and a woman's right to choose. With that much at stake, Judge Roberts needed to show us where his heart is.

AO: But as I was saying, isn’t the Judicial branch charged with enforcing existing law, not making new ones? It would seem to me that it’s far more important for those making laws – Senators and Congressmen – to, as you put it ‘show us where their heart is’. If I could go back to an earlier point – you said that it’s important to act on personal convictions. Yet, although you personally oppose abortion, you campaigned on having abortions funded by the federal government. Now if you as a Senator won’t act on your personal convictions, when you have the power to make laws – how can you criticize John Roberts for not reveling his? His personal views on issues should not interfere with his rulings – a judge is not given the power to legislate. You say he needed to show us where his heart was –

Kerry: Instead he recited case law and said little about what he really thought.

AO: That’s my point! He shouldn’t be making new laws to begin with. I think your position is telling me more about you then Roberts. It seems to me that you want judges to be enforcing their opinions and not the constitution. It seems to me that you want a judge with the same opinions as yourself, because you either know your opinions would never go anywhere in the Senate, or you don’t have enough backbone to stand for them. You want a judge to do it for you – and because of that you’re destroying the checks and balances that made our government strong. Isn’t that what you really want?

Kerry: He needed to engage the Senate Judiciary Committee and the American people in a genuine conversation. He failed that test. And, while I recognize that other members of the Senate will legitimately make a different choice, I will vote "NO" on the Roberts nomination.

AO: Wait, what do you mean ‘legitimately make a different choice’? Are you saying that you took up all this time, and you don’t even believe that your decision is the right one? Are you saying that you won’t go on record as believing your vote is the right vote, and those whose votes oppose yours are wrong? This in unbelievable! You criticize Roberts – who has a legitimate excuse for not revealing his positions on issues – while you yourself backpedal on that very criticism. Even after the election, you continue to make a very strong argument for those you try to oppose. Thank you for you time Senator.