Question: What should the opinions of a nominee’s spouse matter when it comes to confirmation hearings?
Answer: Not a damned thing.
Unless, of course, the issue is abortion:
Judge John G. Roberts has left little hard evidence of his views on abortion in recent years and is widely expected to try to avoid the issue in his coming confirmation hearings.
But there is little mystery about the views of his wife, Jane Sullivan Roberts, a Roman Catholic lawyer from the Bronx whose pro bono work for Feminists for Life is drawing intense interest in the ideologically charged environment of a Supreme Court confirmation debate.
Some abortion opponents view her activities as a clear signal that the Robertses are committed to their cause; supporters of abortion rights fear the same thing. Others say that drawing a direct line from her activities to how her husband might rule on the Supreme Court – assuming that he not only shares her views, but would also act on them to overturn 32 years of legal precedents – is both politically risky and in bad form.
But, apparently, not bad enough form for the front page of the NY Times. And, in what is most assuredly a Balloon Juice first, let me state that I agree completely with Ted Kennedy:
Kennedy argued that Democrats should not make an issue of the fact that Judge Roberts’ wife, Jane Sullivan Roberts, is active in Feminists for Life of America, a group devoted to overturning Roe v. Wade. “I think it ought to be out of bounds. I admire her for that,” the senator said.
Judge Roberts is the nominee. Not Jane Roberts. They aren’t, as some previous politicans and their wives advertised themselves, a package deal.