"Can I remind you that the murder of 88 Australians in Bali took place before the operation in Iraq.

"And I remind you that the 11th of September occurred before the operation in Iraq. ...

"Now I don't know the mind of the terrorists. By definition, you can't put yourself in the mind of a successful suicide bomber. I can only look at objective facts, and the objective facts are as I've cited. The objective evidence is that Australia was a terrorist target long before the operation in Iraq. And indeed, all the evidence, as distinct from the suppositions, suggests to me that this is about hatred of a way of life, this is about the perverted use of principles of the great world religion that, at its root, preaches peace and cooperation. And I think we lose sight of the challenge we have if we allow ourselves to see these attacks in the context of particular circumstances rather than the abuse through a perverted ideology of people and their murder."

It Could Still Get Nasty

Okay, the nomination of Judge John G. Roberts isn't flashy. However, as Bill Kristol notes, it's solid, will affect the direction of the court--and it avoids the pitfall of identity politics:

"The occasion was an opportunity to reshape the Supreme Court. Bush seized the opportunity, in two ways: He moved the Court a solid step to the right (to speak vulgarly), and he elevated its quality. It's true that Roberts is a Rehnquist, not a Scalia or a Thomas. He'll be a little more incremental, a little more cautious, than some of us rabid constitutionalists will sometimes like. But he is a conservative pick, and a quality pick--and, to my surprise, a non-PC, non-quota pick."

Although Roberts is not widely seen as somebody who would vote to overturn Roe v. Wade, there are two affiliations that will strike fear into the blood pumping organs (I can't bring myself to say hearts) of abortion rights types: Roberts is a Catholic, and his wife, Jane Sullivan Roberts, has been of counsel to Feminists for Life, an anti-abortion organization (heretofore its most famous-possibly only famous-member has been Patricia Heaton, best known as Debra on "Everybody Loves Raymond").

An MSNBC commentator argues that Robert's Mr. Establishment credentials ("When he was nominated for the appeals court for the District of Columbia Circuit in 2003, he was praised by Walter Dellinger and Seth Waxman - two former solicitors general in the Clinton administration. And, Roberts is respected by the Washington legal establishment as one of the very best Supreme Court advocates of the present day.") will prevent the expected bloodbath and he will be confirmed. Nevertheless, such stalwarts of the left as NARAL, Moveon.org have wasted no time rallying their troops to oppose the nomination.

Loose Canon would not be a bit surprised if things do turn nasty. And it may turn out that abortion, though the underlying issue, will not be used in the frontal attack. As Captain's Quarter's noted, the opening salvo has been fired by Emily Bazelon on Slate in a piece that implies that the nomination is a reward for Roberts's being one of the judges to support tribunals for some detainees at Guantanamo:

"Bazelon goes on to construct a technical argument, one that has a huge flaw in its reliance on the Geneva Conventions -- the fact that Hamdan doesn't qualify for treatment as a POW. That formed a crucial basis for the DC circuit court. Bazelon wants to allow terrorists to disregard Geneva Conventions -- in fact, their tactics and strategies are the antithesis of what the GCs established -- but hold the US unilaterally responsible for treating their detainees to the highest standards of the treaties, even though they explicitly do not apply to non-signatories. Bazelon's argument for civil rights and civil trials for terrorists captured abroad in civilian garb holds little coherence or factual support. It's based purely on emotion and moral equivalency.

"However -- and this is highly important -- this decision allows the Democrats to once again pick up the Gitmo thread. They can use Hamdan to rhetorically tie Roberts to alleged abuses at Guantanamo Bay and the abuses at Abu Ghraib. In short, they will use Roberts as a stand-in while they spend their time railing against the war and its conduct. Two of the war's most rabid and incoherent critics, Ted Kennedy and Dick Durbin, sit on the Judiciary Committee. Roberts' confirmation hands them a two-for-one opportunity that they will not refuse."