Chief Justice Roberts and His Federalist Society Ideology

Published on OEN, by Kevin Gosztola, January 31, 2009.

A recent court decision of 5-to-4 in the case of Herring v. United States shows that the exclusionary rule (definition on nolo, the lawyer dictionary) may be at risk and the man leading the onslaught on the rule may be Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr, a Bush Administration lawyer through and through who many now know as the guy who fumbled words when administering Obama’s oath of office.

The exclusionary rule, (definition on wikipedia) as the New York Times’ Adam Liptak describes it, is “the principle that evidence obtained by police misconduct cannot be used against a defendant.” According to Liptak, “in 1983, a young lawyer in the Reagan White House was hard at work on what he called in a memorandum ‘the campaign to amend or abolish the exclusionary rule’.”

That young lawyer was the man who is now chief justice of the United States – Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr. While there is a proven record of attacks on the exclusionary rule (definition on the free dictionary) (speeches, opinion editorials, litigation, and proposed legislation), none of the attacks, which stem from the idea that there are judicial activists out there who threaten our nation’s Constitution, have ever gained much traction until this recent case …

… Chief Justice Roberts & the Federalist Society: At the root of the issue concerning the exclusionary rule (find all Feb 1, 2009 Google News results on this item) is the idea that the Fourth Amendment (definition on wikipedia) could be seriously damaged even more than it already has been by prior court decisions if more cases set precedents like the Herring v. United States quite possibly happens to do.

The problem manifesting itself, however, is not just an issue concerning the Fourth Amendment (definition on Find Law). It’s an issue of ideology that stems from the background that Chief Justice Roberts has in government and in the public sphere.

When Roberts was up for confirmation, the Washington Post dutifully reported that Roberts was “a member of the Federalist Society (definition on wikipedia) and once served “on the steering committee of the group’s Washington chapter.” (full text).

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