Tuesday, July 19, 2005

john g roberts

when it was announced that bush would announce his supreme court nominee in a prime-time news conference tonight (one conveniently designed to detract attention from the rove scandal), there were a lot of rumors circulating about who bush would nominate for the supreme court. a lot of those rumors centered around the idea that bush would nominate a woman (specifically edith clement), but he didn't.

i just watched tim russert basically gush over how "capable" and "intelligent" roberts is, and how democrats were "holding their fire" to wait & see what his positions are. but dem advocacy have been very quick to issue statements and fact sheets, and these groups sure don't like john g roberts. for example, a quick scan of americablog's front page turns up statements or links to statements from NOW, alliance for justice, NARAL, & people for the american way... and that's just what's been found by one blog, and the news was just leaked a couple hours ago.

abc has a quick list of some controversial positions has taken in the past. (the list is obviously very truncated and i'm sure some of the cases have layers of subtlety not mentioned here.)
Roberts was principal deputy solicitor general under President George H.W. Bush, who first nominated him for the D.C. Circuit Court in 1992. He was opposed by Democrats and never received a vote. He was re-nominated in 2001, and his nomination languished until a third nomination by Bush in 2003, when he won unanimous confirmation.

He also was special assistant to U.S. Attorney General William French Smith and served as associate White House counsel for four years under President Ronald Reagan.

While deputy solicitor general, Roberts co-signed a brief in Rust v. Sullivan that argued for a ban on federal money for clinics that provided abortions, counseled women about the procedure or referred them to a facility for an abortion. The brief went further than the question presented in the case, arguing that "we continue to believe that Roe was wrongly decided and should be overruled."

In a second abortion-related case, Bray v. Alexandria Women's Health Clinic, Roberts signed a "friend of the court" brief arguing that Operation Rescue was not engaged in a conspiracy to deprive women of their constitutional rights.

Roberts co-authored a brief that argued in favor of clergy-led prayer at public school graduations. The case was Lee v. Weisman, and the government lost.

Roberts also co-authored a brief supporting a law that criminalized flag burning. The government lost, and justices including conservative Antonin Scalia voted against the law.

In his role on the Court of Appeals, Roberts wrote the unanimous decision for a three-judge panel rejecting the civil rights claims brought on behalf of a 12-year-old girl who had been handcuffed, arrested and taken away by police for eating one French fry in the D.C. Metro.

He also wrote a dissent from the decision of the full D.C. Circuit not to reconsider a ruling concerning the constitutionality of the Endangered Species Act as it applied to a real estate development project.

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