Could There Be Roadblocks for Roberts?

This is a partial transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," August 4, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.

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BOB BECKEL, GUEST CO-HOST: There were two new stories in the confirmation battle over John Roberts today. The Los Angeles Times reported today that Roberts did some work for gay rights activists in the 1990s. The judge didn’t include that in his Senate Judiciary Committee questionnaire, and some people are wondering if it will provoke outrage from the conservative community. I hope so.

Meanwhile, as first reported by Brit Hume earlier tonight, The New York Times has been asking lawyers for advice about accessing the sealed adoption records of Roberts’ children. The paper says that only preliminary inquiries have been made.

Joining us now with reaction is former Clinton advisor, Dick Morris.

Dick, welcome, my old friend. Let me start...

DICK MORRIS, FORMER CLINTON ADVISOR: This is why nobody wants to serve on the Supreme Court.

BECKEL: Exactly.

Don’t do me any favors, Mr. President.

BECKEL: That’s right. You don’t want the next job I take.

Let’s start with this gay rights issue. First of all, I think it’s great. And the other thing was -- the other important part of this is he also did work for a homeless group in Washington, D.C., on Medicaid rights. Do you really think this will cause him problems with conservative groups?

No. And I think it will help him get confirmed. Because they can’t paint him now as a doctrinaire right wing extremist.

Look, it’s so ironic in this country. If he had done pro bono legal work for a murderer, nobody would raise any questions.

BECKEL: Right.

But for a gay group or a homeless group, they’re raising questions.

The fact is, that lawyers do pro bono work, whether they agree with the cause or not. But I do think the fact that he did argue a case for the gay rights group, I think, will be helpful. After all, remember how everybody tried to go after Ken Starr and others, this guy has shown every sign that he had a sound originalist conservative philosophy.

When he answered these questions for the judiciary committee...

Right.

HANNITY: ... he said, look, it’s not our role to solve society’s problems. He showed that he believed in judicial restraint, not legislating from the bench. This raises questions for conservatives.

But come on.

HANNITY: Because does he believe that position or not? Is that his philosophy?

Two points. First, Scalia on the court today would probably vote with the Roberts point of view on Romer, because we’ve evolved in our attitudes.

HANNITY: No way.

And I think...

HANNITY: Scalia?

Scalia.

HANNITY: No way. Read his dissent in the case.

Yes, but that was ‘92. And I think secondly...

HANNITY: He’s no Ted Kennedy (search ).

No. But I mean, O’Connor and Kennedy and some real conservatives wrote in on that. And Sandra O’Connor wasn’t on it. I’m sorry. But secondly...

HANNITY: Kennedy...

...it does not reflect necessarily his point of view. He took a pro bono case.

HANNITY: All right, you just said this. But then why wouldn’t you take a pro bono case that also revealed your originalist ideology, because he didn’t have to take the case?

But he did. He probably did.

(CROSSTALK)

HANNITY: Let me -- the bottom line...

BECKEL: A couple points about this, I’ve got to think of with conservatives, and Sean is on the money here. Not only is this is referendum by the people; therefore you get the state rights issue, right? But he’s been fundamentally firm and so has Scalia.

And also the gay community called this the biggest single decision...

HANNITY: It is.

BECKEL: ...that they’ve had in their court battles. And the last thing I’ll say is, Roberts went at this enthusiastically. They went to him and said, "Do you want to take this on?"

He said, "Absolutely, I want to do it."

Hey, hey, hey, hey. A lawyer is obliged to represent his client enthusiastically. What lawyer would not want to represent someone in a pro bono case that would go up to the United States Supreme Court? It’s a close issue. And to hold against him the positions he took as an attorney or for him...

HANNITY: When you add this Romer case with Lawrence, you have now established basically the possibility of saying that you cannot afford the exact same legal protections...

BECKEL: I can’t afford not to get out of here. So I’ve got to do this. Coming up next...

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