For the Sake of a Higher Cause

Over the past few days I have been listening to the hearings for the appointment of Judge Roberts to the position of Chief Justice. Filling this position is of course a critical matter as the person who holds this office will likely have a profound influence on the shape of American culture. Thus, I am not surprised that people would be passionate when it comes to any nominee, and this of course includes Judge Roberts. To be honest, I do not know anything about him other than what has been expressed over the past few days through various news outlets. Apparently Judge Roberts is a polarizing figure, as I have heard comparisons made to fascist dictators as well as those who present him as a secular saint of sorts.

Throughout the hearings people have asked him questions that were designed for him to express some clear ideology in his response. Often his responses left his interrogators frustrated, leaving him to be charged with using verbal sleight-of-hand, meant to keep people in the dark about where he stands on key political issues. In some measure I share this frustration, because I too like people to be open about their convictions. However, I also realize that some circumstances do not allow for such simple declarations.

In reflecting on Judge Robert’ hearing, and particularly the nature of his responses, a question arose for me that I believe addresses a deeper issue in this whole affair. I wonder if it is possible for a person to suspend their basic principles for the sake of what they believe to be a higher cause. Stated more concretely, can Judge Roberts set aside his socially conservative interests or views for the sake of maintaining the integrity of rule-by-law in our society.

In listening to the hearings, it appears that most people don’t believe that this is possible, that one way or another, intentional or not, people will inevitably serve their own interests. Specific to Judge Roberts, it seems that people suspect he is employing circumlocution to mask an agenda that he intends to employ if his appointment goes through. I realize that beyond what I know, there may be good reason to be suspicious about him, and if this is the case I wouldn’t mind hearing about it (please be reasoned and respectful in your response). Regardless of what his specific case may be, however, my question still stands regarding human nature in general.

2 Responses to “For the Sake of a Higher Cause”

  1. Simon Jones  

    I can’t say I know too much about him really. All I know is that Bush wanted him in there, which is good enough reason for me to want to pick up rotting fruit from the ground and sling it in his direction. An irrational and quite unfair reaction on my part of course, but one must partake in a drive by fruiting at least once.

    On a more worrying note your post got me to thinking if I have even the faintest idea as to what our UK equivalent of that post is. Is it the High Court, the House of Lords? Who knows? I should know that though shouldn’t I. The shock and shame is that I don’t.

    And another thing, if Wales is governed by England in the same way as Scotland, with both of them coming under UK leadership, why then do they have parliaments?

    And who the heck is the Prime Minister of Canada. It’s outrageous that I have no idea who runs the biggest country in the world.

    I’m horribly uninformed about so much; your level on informedness is impressive Anthony. I’m so uninformed that I didn’t even know Britney Spears was pregnant! How the devil did I miss that bit of world changing news I ask you!?

  2. Administrator  


    Thanks for the compliment! Honestly however, I don’t think I am anymore politically informed than you are. In fact, in my original draft of this post I confessed my political ignorance, and talked a bit about my attempts to overcome it. I mentioned how I read from various news sources and listened to political commentators across the spectrum (all who claimed to speak w/out spin), with the end result that I did not feel any sense of mastery over political affairs and that I became rather cynical about the state of information in our society. In light of this, what I hope your compliment shows is that I am able to deal even with my ignorance in an intelligent fashion.