This is a partial transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," July 19, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.
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(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN ROBERTS, SUPREME COURT NOMINEE: I always got a lump in my throat whenever I walked up those marble steps to argue a case before the court, and I don't think it was just from the nerves. I am very grateful for the confidence the president has shown in nominating me, and I look forward to the next step in the process before the United States Senate.
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SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: And welcome back to this special edition of "Hannity & Colmes." I'm Sean Hannity.
Joining us now, former attorney general, Ed Meese, is with us from the Reagan administration.
Mr. Attorney General, thanks for being with us.
ED MEESE, FORMER ATTORNEY GENERAL: Thank you. Good to be with you again.
HANNITY: Do you know this judge?
MEESE: I know him very well. And I think very highly. I think the president is to be commended for his outstanding appointment, an outstanding nomination.
HANNITY: It seems like he followed through on his promise. My reading of his record, Mr. Attorney General.
One issue that we haven't gotten to yet, but I have no doubt it's going to come back, is he has not really weighed in on a lot of disputed social issues.
Abortion rights groups like NARAL already are weighing in against him. And they maintain that he tried, during his days as a lawyer in the first Bush administration, to overturn Roe v. Wade.
Now, here's what they're quoting here. Roberts did help write a brief that said the following, quote, "We continue to believe that Roe was wrongly decided and should be overruled."
Now in 2003, when questioned about it, he said, "Roe v. Wade is the settled law of the land. There's nothing in my personal views that would prevent me from fully and faithfully applying that precedent."
Should he have to answer any more than that?
MEESE: I think that he's answered it exactly correctly, and I think it would be wrong, since there are going to be a number of issues that will be before the court, that derive from Roe against Wade.
Remember what he said in that brief, as he was representing the people of the United States, reflected the majority of all the legal scholars when Roe was decided. Most people thought it was wrongly decided, not from the standpoint of the policy issue, but just on the basis of the law, and that the so-called rights that were found were not in the Constitution.
So he was being accurate, both as a lawyer and as an advocate at that time.
HANNITY: Back in 2003, he was excoriated by Senator Schumer, who eventually voted against him, who is a pretty hard left-winger, for not answering these specific questions. But most nominees will not answer those questions. Ruth Bader Ginsburg was not forced to answer these questions, but was overwhelmingly approved. That's usually the practice, correct?
MEESE: Absolutely. As a matter of fact, it's now known as the Ginsburg rule for Supreme Court nominees, because it would be wrong to try to be pinned down.
MEESE: Senator Schumer is not really trying to find out what's in John Roberts' mind. He's trying to find a basis to vote against him. That's pretty clear.
HANNITY: Why do I have no doubt he, Leahy, Kennedy, and others will - - and Durbin will find a way to vote against him.
What recommendation — you've been through some tough battles. It was 1987 when Ted Kennedy, speaking of excoriating, excoriated Judge Robert Bork, then appointed by President Ronald Reagan.
What advice would you give to the White House, seeing on the horizon here the Dick Durbins, and the Schumers and the Kennedys, and their earlier comments about Judge Roberts, and their predictable anticipated attacks? What should they prepare for? How should they handle it?
MEESE: Well, I think they should recognize what was done then, that shameful speech by Teddy Kennedy, which was really terrible, and I think they have to be prepared.
I hope they will have advocates on the floor of the Senate who will truthfully describe this nominee. I think that then it's important that the public learn the truth and not get the view of the candidate simply as it's been conjured up by these extreme left-wing special interest groups to whom people like Schumer and Kennedy cater all the time.
ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: It seems to me, General Meese — good to have you back on the show.
MEESE: Thank you.
COLMES: You guys want to pick a fight with Democrats, saying ahead of time that Democrats are going to be mean to this guy and start a fight. It hasn't even happened yet.
MEESE: Well, nobody wants to pick a fight, Alan. I wish that the Democrats would treat this nominee and all of President Bush's nominees as well as the Republicans, when they were in the majority, treated Bill Clinton's nominees.
They treated them with great respect. They treated the Supreme Court nominees — remember, Ruth Bader Ginsburg was further to the left than any person who's even been suggested might be appointed by President Bush. And yet she was confirmed, I believe 96-3.
Steve Breyer, who worked for Ted Kennedy, for Pete's sake, he was confirmed 87-8. Now, that they found that they were qualified, that they had the integrity, the temperament, those kinds of qualities, and that's why they were confirmed.
John Roberts has all of those qualities, and he ought to be easily confirmed.
COLMES: And they were consensus candidates. And Ruth Bader Ginsburg had a very moderate record as a judge, prior to the nomination to the Supreme Court.
MEESE: Well, John Roberts has a very moderate record as a judge in the sense of being true to the law. Ruth Bader Ginsburg since that time, you could hardly say that she was a constitutionally faithful judge.
COLMES: Let me ask you about this, the issue that Sean brought up, about the issue of abortion, where he had an amicus brief and he said that Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided.
And then in his confirmation hearings in 2003, he said Roe v. Wade is a settled law of the land. Is it fair to ask him in a confirmation hearing which of those positions he would take as a member of the Supreme Court? Because they seem to contradict each other.
MEESE: No, they don't contradict each other. As a judge of the court of appeal, he had the responsibility of carrying out the decisions of the Supreme Court.
On the other hand, if an issue came before him as a Supreme Court judge, he would have to look at what the applicable law is at the time, what the facts are of the situation.
And probably Roe against Wade as such is not going to come directly before the court, but there will be things like the partial birth abortion and other things that derive from that case, and that's why it would be inappropriate for him to comment on Roe against Wade during a hearing on his present position.
COLMES: But if he believes Roe v. Wade is a settled law of the land, would that not be an indicator that he would not, as a Supreme Court justice, vote to overturn Roe v. Wade? And can we take that in that meaning, in that context, for the confirmation hearing?
MEESE: It would depend entirely on the facts of the case brought before him, and it is the settled law for an appellate court judge, as I mentioned.
But there may be issues that will come up for the Supreme Court in which he will have to rule based upon whatever the arguments and the law and the view of the Constitution is at that particular time.
And that's why it would be inappropriate for him to answer any questions about Roe against Wade, because they're not being asked, you know, to help discern what John Roberts' judicial temperament or his approach to being a judge is. They're going to be asked by people who are mean-spirited who want to harpoon him and use those answers or his refusal to answer as a means for voting against him. If they do, let them vote against him, but let him have an up-or-down vote, because I think he overwhelmingly represents what the people of this country are looking for.
HANNITY: Seems very mainstream, and as you point out, Judge Bader — Ruth Bader Ginsburg is on the far left, Alan.
COLMES: She's not far left. She had a moderate record prior to her ascension to the Supreme Court.
MEESE: How can you say that when she worked for the ACLU?
COLMES: ACLU is (INAUDIBLE) Bob Barr is ACLU.
HANNITY: Thank you, Mr. Attorney General. Good to see you.
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