What would Romney @ Justice look like?

by on September 4, 2012  •  In DoMA, Elections, Marriage, Reproductive rights

Romeny Justice Department

Let’s hope we never find out who Mitt Romney would put in charge at the Justice Department or, worse, who he would appoint to the Supreme Court.  But if that came to pass…One sure bet is that a pledge to uphold and defend DoMA would be at the top of the litmus list. “As president, Mitt will not only appoint an Attorney General who will defend the Defense of Marriage Act … he will also champion a Federal Marriage Amendment to the Constitution defining marriage as between one man and one woman.”

Last year, 60 plus lawyers issued a joint statement proclaiming their “fervent support” for Mitt Romney. It was cosigned by former Judge Robert Bork, who scared Americans so badly with his trashing of constitutional recognition for contraception that President Reagan had to withdraw Bork’s  nomination to the Supreme Court, and Professor Mary Ann Glendon, a conservative Harvard Law professor whom Bush appointed ambassador to the Vatican. The pairing of Bork and Glendon apparently constitute the Republican idea of diversity.

Why are they such fervent Mittneys? It’s that DoMA thing again:

First,… [i]n an absolutely unprecedented action, President Obama and his attorney general have refused to defend an important federal statute, the Defense of Marriage Act, in court. .. What the administration’s decision seems to reflect is not only the President’s disregard for the rule of law, but his disdain for traditional family values and the people who hold them.

It goes without saying that Romney would have to make good on his newly proclaimed devotion to attacks on reproductive rights as well. Professor Glendon vouched for him: “After participating in a searching no-holds-barred conversation among Mitt, his wife, Anne, and a group of pro-life activists in March 2007, I was completely convinced of his sincerity on the life issues.”

So, who would he appoint to the Court?  His web page says “As president, Mitt will nominate judges in the mold of Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Scalia, Thomas, and Alito.” Who would be on that list?

  • If you’re looking for Roberts wannabes, several names immediately come to the top of the list: Paul Clement, former Bush Solicitor General and a Supreme Court specialist in private practice, as Roberts was. Clement argued the case against the health reform law last term and is the lead counsel defending DoMA on behalf of House Republicans.
  • Another former Justice Department official now in private practice and GOP favorite is Charles Cooper, chief counsel for the groups defending the constitutionality of Prop 8.
  • Or perhaps Maureen Mahoney, especially if Romney were to name a replacement for Justice Ginsburg. Mahoney, like Roberts, clerked for former Chief Justice Rehnquist and served as one of his pallbearers, worked at DoJ, and is now in private practice.  Interestingly, she represented UC-Hastings Law School when it was sued by the Christian Legal Society. 

And what about DoJ?  Suffice it to say that any new Attorney General would have to be the anti-Holder. The Republican National Lawyers Association promotes a book attacking Holder that alleges that

[T]he Civil Rights Division “attracts (and recruits) the most liberal applicants for career positions.” [Lawyers are] “hired almost exclusively from left-wing advocacy groups” and “radical ideology, similar political leanings, and association with liberal civil rights organizations were prerequisites for all new hires.”

For other judgeships or high-ranking positions? It would be essentially the same as if we were living in Bush 3, including Michael Chertoff, former Secretary of Homeland Security, who previously served on the U.S. Court of Appeals for D.C.; former architects and defenders of those DoJ torture memos like Professor John Yoo, Christopher Bartolomucci, Bradford Berenson and Steven Bradbury; and perhaps Professor George Dent of the University of Kentucky Law School, a prolific writer on the perils of gay marriage.  All are members of Team Romney’s legal group.

Ted Olson is also a member of the RNLA Advisory Council, but somehow I don’t think he’s going to get the nod.

Image credits: Mitt Romney, original image by Gage Skidmore, Wikipedia Commons. Unbalanced scales of justice, GFDL.


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