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Opening Arguments

John Roberts' baggage

Not much to say about Day 3 of the Roberts hearing. His confirmation is seen as such a sure thing that Democrats seem to have lost heart and Republicans are asking even easier questions, if that is possible.

I do wonder about one thing. I agree with what seems to be Roberts' view of a justice's role: to apply the Constitution to the law, regardless of his own opinions or philosophy. But he says this so often -- wanting to underscore his humility and deference -- that I wonder if he's really thought about it all that much.

Journalists are finally beginning to accept that there is no such thing as perfect objectivity. We all have opinions and beliefs, and, try as we might, we can't prevent them from affecting what we write. The best we can do is be aware of our own baggage and admit it to other people. That's one of the reasons for the popularity of blogs, I think. It's refreshing to read takes on the news from people who aren't afraid to admit they actually have opinions. As readers, we can sort it all out. That was the animating principle of the Founders who crafted the First Amendment: from many voices, truth.

Jurists don't leave their opinions and core beliefs at the courthouse door. The best they can do is acknowledge their own baggage and try to stay focused despite it. I'd feel better about Roberts if it were more apparent he'd considered this.