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The Honorable John Engler
Former Governor of Michigan
Mr. Chairman, Senator Leahy and distinguished members of the committee,
My name is John Engler, President of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), the nation's largest industrial trade association representing small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector and in all 50 states. I am pleased to be here today to testify in support of the nomination of Judge John Roberts to be the next Chief Justice of the United States.
This is an important moment for the NAM, because it is the first time that we have participated in a proceeding of this type. I would like to take a minute to explain why we have taken this historic step.
When I joined the NAM on October 1st of last year, I brought with me 20 years of experience in the Michigan legislature, and 12 years as Governor, from 1991 to 2003.
During my 12 years as Governor, I appointed more than 200 judges. That includes three State Supreme Court justices, who had a record of faithfully interpreting and applying the law.
As a result of these appointments, coupled with equally needed tort reform legislation, cases filed in the Michigan Circuit Courts dropped by 17% percent between 1997 and 2004. The legal cost of doing business in Michigan improved. When the time came for the justices I had appointed to run for reelection, despite significant opposition from certain personal injury lawyers, who were the one group that profited from the prior unpredictable and unstable legal climate, my appointees to the Supreme Court were reelected. Their reelection happened in significant part because the people of Michigan came to understand that the certainty and predictability that judges help foster when they follow the law not only lead to a better business climate but are key to jobs and prosperity.
The need for fairness and predictability is why the NAM decided that the time had come for it to take positions on judicial nominations. After reviewing Judge John Roberts' record, the NAM is convinced that he is eminently qualified to lead the Court. Judge Roberts has the intellect and experience needed to understand and address complicated transactions and difficult legal problems. At the same time, he is committed to applying the law rather than applying his own personal views. This philosophy is essential if we are to remain a nation guided by the rule of law.
Finally, he understands the importance of clarity when deciding cases and the practical consequences of decisions for business.
I should add that none of the current members of the Court comes from a recent private sector background. Judge Roberts does. Accordingly, if he is confirmed, Justice Roberts will add an important voice to the Court's deliberations because of his strong experience of how litigation affects major commercial transactions. This background will allow Judge Roberts to assist the Court both in identifying cases that present business issues of national importance for its review and in understanding the practical ramifications of rules set out through its decisions.
As I close, the NAM did not seek to determine if Judge Roberts will reach or is likely to reach particular outcomes "favorable to business."
The principal difficulty with an outcome-based approach is that the outcomes a Justice should reach depend on what the duly-enacted law is.
In many areas, different companies and businesses will disagree on what the "pro-business" result actually is.
Therefore the NAM is not looking for a Justice who is biased in favor of or against business or whose decisions reflect or are likely to reflect a "pro-business" outlook but rather for a Justice who will properly and impartially apply the law. We are convinced Judge Roberts will be such a Justice.
For all these reasons, I respectfully urge this committee to act in a timely manner and report Judge John Roberts'nomination to the full Senate with a recommendation that he be confirmed as Chief Justice of the United States.
The Honorable Orrin Hatch
Mr. Stephen L. Tober, Esq.
Tom Hayward, Esq.
Pamela A. Bresnahan, Esq.
The Honorable Dick Thornburgh
The Honorable John Lewis
Jennifer Cabranes Braceras, Esq.
Mr. Peter Kirsanow
The Honorable Nathaniel Jones
Maureen E. Mahoney, Esq.
Carol M. Browner
Kathryn Webb Bradley, Esq.
Anne Marie Tallman
The Honorable Denise Lindberg
Mr. Reginald M. Turner, Jr.
Catherine E. Stetson, Esq.
The Honorable Bruce Botelho
Henrietta Wright, Esq.
The Honorable Charles Fried
Peter B. Edelman
Patricia L. Bellia
Christopher S. Yoo
Rabbi Dale Polakoff
The Honorable John Engler