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Modesty and the Law: Senators Ask — Judge Roberts Answers

Judge John G. Roberts, President George W. Bush’s nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court, responded to a series of questions posed by members of the Senate Judiciary Committee. In a lengthy written document, Judge Roberts answered a wide range of questions. The full text of Judge Roberts’ reply is available: Part One, Part Two.
In response to a question on judicial activism, Judge Roberts answered: It is not part of the judicial function to make the law — a responsibility vested in the Legislature — or to execute the law — a responsibility vested in the Executive. . . . The proper exercise of the judicial role in our constitutional system requires a degree of institutional and personal modesty and humility.
He went on to argue that “judges must be constantly aware that their role, while important, is limited.” He continued: They do not have a commission to solve society’s problems, as they see them, but simply to decide cases before them according to the rule of law. When the other branches of government exceed their constitutionally-mandated limits, the courts can act to confine them to their proper bounds. It is judicial self-restraint, however, that confines judges to their proper constitutional responsibilities.
A modest judiciary.  This is a promising approach, indeed.  We should look forward to Judge Roberts’ confirmation hearings in the Senate.  The entire nation will benefit from a lesson in judicial modesty.
A MODEST SET OF LINKS:  Coverage of the Roberts documents from The New York Times, MSNBC, The Los Angeles Times, USA Today, The Washington Post.