Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Shrub's SCOTUS Pick: Reproductive Rights Endangered

roberts.jpg From the San Diego Union-Tribune (from an Associated Press report):

Bush chose federal appeals court judge John G. Roberts Jr. on Tuesday as his first nominee for the Supreme Court, selecting a rock solid conservative whose nomination could trigger a tumultuous battle over the direction of the nation's highest court, a senior administration official said.

Bush offered the position to Roberts in a telephone call at 12:35 p.m. after a luncheon with the visting prime minister of Australia, John Howard. He was to announce it later with a flourish in a nationally broadcast speech to the nation.

Roberts has been on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit since June 2003 after being picked for that seat by Bush.

Already, plans are on to protest the nomination. If you will be in DC tomorrow,check this out and attend, if you are so inclined:

JOIN the National Organization for Women (NOW), Wednesday, July 20, at 10:00 am for a demonstration against the nomination of anti-abortion rights John Roberts to the United States Supreme Court!

Dirksen Senate Office Building - Senate Swamp

Constitution and First St SE

The United States Senate must NOT confirm John Roberts. Let's show our support for women's rights.

So, who is this guy and what's behind the just-started furor?

Roberts serves on the US Court
of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
. A staunch conservative, the Buffalo, NY, native is reputed to be a quiet, thoughtful person who is an accompished orator. Roberts once was a law clerk for Chief Justice William Rehnquist, worked as a lawyer, and is a former deputy solicitor general.

According to a 2002 Buzzflash op-ed, he is, like SCOTUS also-ran Edith Clement, a Bush campaign-contributor:

John G. Roberts, Jr., the Hogan & Hartson partner nominated for the DC Circuit, also donated $1000 to Bush -- this really is starting to look like a cover charge -- with $3000 to other Republicans and $3900 to Hogan & Hartson's PAC. The PAC gave $136,000, aside from individual donations, and $30,000 in soft money. Roberts then donated $1000 to the Bush recount effort. Hogan & Hartson clients include Mobil Oil Corporation, 3M, and Hartford Accident & Indemnity.

And it appears Roberts is no friend to those who support reproductive rights. In one Supreme Court 1991 case during the reign of King George the Elder, Rust v. Sullivan, then-deputy solicitor general Roberts co-wrote a brief supporting the anti-choice government's wish to ban doctors in federally-funded family-planning programs from even discussing the alternative of abortion with patients. He also worked to overturn Roe v. Wade -- not once, but numerous times.

From the National Abortion Federation:

As an attorney in the Justice Departments of Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, Roberts repeatedly argued for the reversal of Roe v. Wade stating that there was "no support in the text, structure or history of the Constitution" for the reasoning behind Roe. NAF believes that the appointment of Roberts will weaken the protections of Roe and its progeny. Numerous cases impacting the accessibility of abortion could come before this circuit, including administrative decisions such as the availability of mifepristone (RU-486).

Slate calls Roberts a hard-liner on the issue. Apparently, that is putting it mildly.

Additonally, the apparent nominee is someone with whom King George the Younger feels comfortable. That may be due, in part, to the fact that Roberts is seen as a jurist who supports giving the White House wide flexibility in its general operations and particularly in its handling of the so-called War on Terror.

Before his elevation to the DC Circuit Court, web site The Dossiers included Roberts in a list of "deeply conservative judges" the Bush administration intended and intends to foist upon the American populace via the federal judicial bench.

"As a political appointee in the Reagan administration, Roberts worked to oppose both busing and affirmative action as means of desegregation. Roberts was also involved in the administration's highly controversial efforts to make it nearly impossible for Voting Rights plaintiffs to prove violations. He later represented the first Bush administration in taking anti-choice positions in two high-profile reproductive rights cases. Roberts is nominated to the DC Circuit which hears many critical cases involving health, safety and civil rights regulations." Alliance for Justice Report

As we know, Roberts made it to the DC appeals court by a near unanimous Senate confirmation vote. Now the man the New York Sun called a "confirmable conservative" appears to be on his way to consideration by the Senate for a lifelong appointment to the Supreme Court. I don't know about you, but I am quite fearful.

from all facts and opinions

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