In their first reactions to Roberts, many of the Democrats and liberal groups resisting his selection by President Bush are trying to portray him as a threat to the economic interests of average families. The strategy — even the language — is similar to Gore's effort to frame the 2000 presidential campaign as a choice between "the people" and "the powerful."
Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) thundered in his first floor statement on the nomination this week: "Americans deserve to know if nominees will be on the side of justice and individual liberties, or if they will side with powerful special interests."
This use of populist economic arguments appears partly driven by necessity: Roberts' record as an attorney and federal judge is much more extensive on economic than social issues, and thus potentially offers more ammunition for critics.