Tuesday, July 19, 2005

The Supreme Nominee

Ta-ram-tam-tam! I give you....John G. Roberts Jr., who has been on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit since June 2003. Who is this guy? It seems that he actually knows lawyering which is a nice change. But his opinions are wingnutty, of course:

Advocacy groups on the right say that Roberts, a 50-year-old native of Buffalo, N.Y., who attended Harvard Law School, is a bright judge with strong conservative credentials he burnished in the administrations of former Presidents Bush and Reagan. While he has been a federal judge for just a little more than two years, legal experts say that whatever experience he lacks on the bench is offset by his many years arguing cases before the Supreme Court.

Liberal groups, however, say Roberts has taken positions in cases involving free speech and religious liberty that endanger those rights. Abortion rights groups allege that Roberts is hostile to women's reproductive freedom and cite a brief he co-wrote in 1990 that suggested the Supreme Court overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 high court decision that legalized abortion.

"The court's conclusion in Roe that there is a fundamental right to an abortion ... finds no support in the text, structure or history of the Constitution," the brief said.

Or, as an e-mail from NARAL states:

Some of the lowlights of Judge Robert's background include:

As Deputy Solicitor General, Roberts argued in a brief before the U.S. Supreme Court (in a case that did not implicate Roe v. Wade) that "[w]e continue to believe that Roe was wrongly decided and should be overruled…. [T]he Court's conclusion in Roe that there is a fundamental right to an abortion… finds no support in the text, structure, or history of the Constitution."

In Rust v. Sullivan, the Supreme Court considered whether Department of Health and Human Services regulations limiting the ability of Title X recipients to engage in abortion-related activities violated various constitutional provisions. Roberts, appearing on behalf of HHS as Deputy Solicitor General, argued that this domestic gag rule did not violate constitutional protections.

Roberts, again as Deputy Solicitor General, filed a "friend of the court" brief for the United States supporting Operation Rescue and six other individuals who routinely blocked access to reproductive health care clinics, arguing that the protesters' behavior did not amount to discrimination against women even though only women could exercise the right to seek an abortion.

The Court was so accustomed to the Solicitor General and the Deputy Solicitor General arguing for the overturn of Roe that during John Roberts's oral argument before the Supreme Court in Bray, a Justice Asked, "Mr. Roberts, in this case are you asking that Roe v. Wade be overruled?" He responded, "No, your honor, the issue doesn't even come up." To this the justice said, "Well, that hasn't prevented the Solicitor General from taking that position in prior cases."

I'm cutting and pasting like mad because I don't know anything about Mr. Roberts. Have to find out how corporate-friendly he is. Probably very.

Well, the wingnuts must dance happily tonight. They got their way and the number of women in the Supreme Court dropped by fifty percent.