This is a partial transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," August 23, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.
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ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: Our top story tonight. Two weeks from today, Judge John Roberts will face the United States Senate. The question is, how nasty could it get?
California Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein (search) warned yesterday that she's expecting answers from Judge Roberts about his position on abortion. But what happens if he won't answer? Will there be political retribution?
Joining us now, the former assistant to the president and counselor to Vice President Cheney, Mary Matalin.
MARY MATALIN, FORMER COUNSELOR TO THE VICE PRESIDENT: Alan, always good to be with you.
COLMES: One quick question: When Vice President Cheney runs for president, will you work with him then?
MATALIN: The vice president is serving this president with great honor and great privilege and has said that he's not running. I don't know what else he has to say.
COLMES: Let me ask you about Justice Roberts. You know he's — it's not going to be a big fight. He'll probably overwhelmingly be confirmed. And all this talk about how the evil Democrats are going to be nasty to them, not happening, is it?
MATALIN: Well, what is happening — and this is a test for the Democratic Party, and it is a test for the Senate — but it's a test for the party to see how far they're going to have their chain jerked by their money groups, their 527s, who ran ads who had to be pulled, who are saying nasty things, who are going to come out tomorrow, the big liberal push tomorrow.
All of the liberal fund-raising groups are going to come out and oppose Judge Roberts, who could not have more — could not have greater credentials to serve on the Supreme Court. So we have to see how the Senate's going to react to this and how the Democratic Party, the party, is going to react to these groups that are jerking them far to the left.
COLMES: We're talking about two different things. I mean, there are certainly special interest groups, like NARAL did pull its ad, but that's not the same thing as senators, who, by and large, have expressed pretty much support, with a couple of exceptions for Judge Roberts. Certainly, there are going to be special interest groups that oppose him, right?
MATALIN: Well, it's pretty hard to be — it's laughable for any senator to oppose him. They did lay out a strategy to oppose him. They set out without knowing anything about him a strategy to oppose him. It was going to be not enough consultation. There was unprecedented consultation with the Senate by the president.
Then it was about, "He's going to" — you know, they're going to attack him on his extreme ideology. There is no extreme ideology.
COLMES: There's no attack.
MATALIN: Now they're reduced to going after his papers. As Ed Gillespie says, by the time it's over, they'll want his high school Spanish tests.
COLMES: There's no attack, though. I've not seen an attack.
And let me talk about the issue whether...
MATALIN: The hearings haven't started yet.
COLMES: Let's talk about whether he should answer the abortion question. And I keep hearing about Ruth Bader Ginsburg, was a consensus candidate, recommended by Orrin Hatch, overwhelmingly supported by both parties. And here is what she said during her confirmation hearings when she was asked about her feelings about abortion.
She said, "The right to an abortion is something central to a woman's life, to her dignity. It's a decision that she must make for herself. And when government controls that decision for her, she's being treated as less than a fully adult human responsible for her own choices." So she did directly answer that question, so why shouldn't Judge Roberts?
MATALIN: He will — the same standards that were applied to her, they can ask and he can answer whatever he's going to answer, but he shouldn't answer anything that might likely come before him.
COLMES: Are you saying that he should answer that question?
MATALIN: He should — they should ask anything they want to ask him. And he shouldn't answer anything that is likely to come before him.
MATALIN: And this is — and the same standards that applied to her and to everybody else should apply. He doesn't need to answer that particular question and, particularly, if it's going to come up before this court. So he should keep to the same standards that have been used in the past for all of these Supreme Court justices.
SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: Hey, Mary, welcome back to the program. It's Sean.
MATALIN: Hi, Sean.
HANNITY: I want to see your husband James in Orlando. We have a big date there together, so it should be a lot of fun. We're looking forward to it.
MATALIN: I feel your pain.
HANNITY: Maybe he can give me a preview of what I can expect. The Ginsburg rule — no hints, no previews, no clues whatsoever. She didn't answer 40 specific questions, former ACLU general counsel, woman who supported legalized prostitution, and even the idea or the possibility of polygamy, that could be a constitutional right, she was approved by an overwhelming majority of Republicans here.
That standard, that Ginsburg rule, is not being applied in the case of John Roberts, as is evidenced by Dianne Feinstein's comments today.
MATALIN: You know, elections have consequences. It's not like the Supreme Court or judges in general — wasn't known to be a huge issue in this election. It wasn't like people didn't come out specifically on that issue.
And the consequence of people understanding how important the courts are in our civil society was born out by the election of George W. Bush. And he should be able to pick who he wants to put on these courts, and he is.
And you cannot — there cannot possibly be any rational attack on this nominee, whose credentials are impeccable, whose family and lifestyle is unimpeachable, whose academic record and record on the bench is stellar.
I don't even know why they're even doing anything other than just proceeding, sailing through, and moving past what just keeps accruing to pointing out how far left and extreme the base of their party is.
HANNITY: You know, it's funny, because, as we read more and more of the things that he's written, going back into the Reagan years, not only is he smart, but he's sarcastic, so he gets double credit for being sarcastic.
MATALIN: He is really witty.
HANNITY: I guess my next question is, there are some, especially because of his role in the Romer case, on the conservative side, that have some doubt whether or not in fact he would be an originalist like a Scalia or a Thomas.
Do you have any doubt?
MATALIN: You know, no, I don't have any doubts. I would say that a few hours on pro bono case does not — I wouldn't read as much into that as I would the reams of documents that we've been perusing over the last couple of weeks that have come out from the Reagan library and such.
He is a strict constructionist. I'm sure the president, of all the things that he asked all the candidates, was quite clear on that credential for his nominees. But he also has an intense intellectual prowess.
And he's intellectually honest. And he knows the Constitution inside out. And you see all the things that he wrote, I don't know how the evidence can be to the contrary.
HANNITY: You know, it's funny, because Alan says they're not attacking him, but they have been lining up with the religious litmus tests, an abortion litmus test, Ted Kennedy, Pat Leahy, Chuck Schumer, Dick Durbin, on his religious litmus test.
And I, as I sit back and watch, I wonder if the administration should have handed over any of these documents, knowing that I don't see any scenario under which Boxer, Leahy, Schumer, Kennedy, or Durbin, or the rest of these guys are going to vote — even open their minds to consider voting for John Roberts.
MATALIN: The president wants to have, and the Senate needs to have — because this is very important for the Democratic Party and for the Democratic senators — to have a dignified process. That's what the president wants.
He's not going to let them go on a fishing expedition, but turned over every document, did not want to provide them either with an excuse for holding this up, as they did with John Bolton.
MATALIN: But he will get over 70 votes.
HANNITY: No solicitor general papers under any circumstances, Mary?
MATALIN: Well, that's attorney-client. I mean, that — we withheld papers from the Clinton administration. I mean, that's a privilege of the client who happens to be the president in this case. That's an ugly precedent. You wouldn't want to open up that one.
COLMES: Going to be overwhelmingly confirmed. It's not going to be a big deal here. We thank you very much for coming on tonight. Thank you.
HANNITY: Appreciate your support, Alan.
MATALIN: It's fun to be with you, Alan.
COLMES: Well, it's just he's probably likely to be confirmed, right? All right.
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