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Unfortunately, the recent confirmation hearings on the president’s nomination of John Roberts to be the next chief justice did little to encourage public respect for the Supreme Court or the Senate. The idea that confirmation hearings on a nominee for any position should begin with three hours of opening statements by senators is absurd. The senators should be there to hear from the nominee, rather than the other way around. On the other hand, Judge Roberts’ analogizing the role of a Supreme Court justice (or any judge) to that of a football referee is disappointingly simplistic, and almost certainly disingenuous. Judge Roberts cannot seriously believe that our Constitution and statutes leave no more room for legitimate judicial interpretation than the rules of sport. If that was all there was to it, the Framers of our Constitution would not have considered the federal judiciary to be so important as to require appointment of every federal judge by the president with the advice and consent of the Senate, or to provide for judges to be appointed to a lifetime term. Steven Finell Santa Rosa You can send Letters to the Editor to The Recorder, 10 United Nations Plaza, 3rd Floor, San Francisco, CA 94102; by fax at (415) 749-5549; or at [email protected].

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