John Roberts has been pressed by liberal Democrats to say that he will not allow his personal moral convictions to affect his performance of his public duties. And this is an assurance he has given to them. But what does it all mean?
I see it as a golden opportunity. After Judge Roberts is confirmed (as seems increasingly likely), the very next day he should hold a press conference, and there announce that when he said this to the Senate Judiciary Committee, he was lying. But this was okay, because he was telling the good senators that he was not going to let personal moral convictions (which presumably include scruples about lying) affect his public behavior, which is exactly what he was doing (or not doing, depending on how you look at it) at that moment. But this means that on a deeper level, he was telling the truth. I mean, after all, is not the duty to tell senators the truth, having sworn to do so, a personal moral conviction? And was he not telling them that he had his fingers crossed?
I mean, once you have foresworn all moral obligations to the unborn if those obligations are based on personal moral convictions, is it not equally feasible to foreswear all moral obligations to senators, who are simply asking for it?
At his press conference, Judge Roberts could simply say that he tried as mightily as he could in order to to do what the senators were urging upon him, and he did so throughout the entire course of the confirmation hearings, but that he now realizes that it is an untenable and incoherent way of proceeding. He would then promise to tell the truth, and interpret the Constitution truthfully, from this moment on. He should also thank the senators for their overt permission to experiment on them with this novel ethical theory, and that, even though the experiment had failed, it was well-worth the try. And thanks for coming.