{ An Autopsy of Democracy }

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Sighs of relief? Or just sighs?

The "debate" on NPR today consisted of both guests essentially saying that Bush's nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court, John Roberts, is moderate enough that Democrats must be emitting "sighs of relief." They even speculated that other names -- of more extreme right-wing candidates -- had been floated around first so that when Roberts was chosen he wouldn't look so bad, by comparison.

But here's what MoveOn.org has to say about Roberts:

"Why is it so important to oppose Roberts? Because his short two years as a judge, his extensive history as a partisan, and his record as a corporate lawyer show a consistent pattern of putting right-wing ideology and corporate power over individuals' rights.

Here are some of the areas of greatest concern from Roberts' record:

As a partisan lawyer for the Bush Sr. and Reagan administrations, Roberts threatened:

Civil rights by asking the Supreme Court to severely limit the ability of district courts to desegregate public schools1, and working to ensure the Voting Rights Act could not be used to remedy many cases of actual discrimination against minority votes.2

Women's rights by fighting for a law barring doctors from even discussing reproductive options in many cases,3 and arguing that Roe. vs. Wade should be "overruled."4

Free speech by arguing to the Supreme Court that political speech that some considered offensive did not deserve First Amendment protections. The Court rejected his claim.5

Religious liberty by arguing to the Supreme Court that public schools could force religious speech on students. Again, the Court rejected the argument.6

As a corporate lawyer, Roberts threatened:

Community and environmental rights by working to strike down new clean-air rules and filing a brief for the National Mining Association, arguing that federal courts could not stop mountaintop-removal mining in West Virginia, even as it devastated local communities.7
Workers' rights by helping Toyota to successfully evade the Americans with Disabilities Act and fire workers for disabilities they suffered over time because of the requirements of their jobs.8

Public interest regulations by helping Fox News challenge FCC rules that prevented the creation of news media monopolies.9

In his short two years as a judge, Roberts has threatened:

Individual rights by rejecting the civil rights claims brought on behalf of a 12-year-old girl who had been handcuffed, arrested and taken away by the police for eating a single french fry in the D.C. Metro.10

Environmental protections when the dissent he wrote on an Endangered Species Act case, had it been in the majority, would have struck the Act down as unconstitutional in many cases, and would have threatened a wide swath of workplace, public safety and civil rights protections.11

Human Rights by voting to strike down the Geneva Conventions as applied to prisoners that the Bush administration chose to exempt from international law.12"


1. Oklahoma City Public Schools v. Dowell

2. Alliance for Justice, Nominee Profile

3. Alliance for Justice, Nominee Profile

4. "Same Appeal; Different Styles," Washington Postm July 17, 2005

5. United States v. Eichman, 496 U.S. 310 (1990)

6. Lee v. Weisman, 505 U.S. 577 (1992)

7. "The Making of the Corporate Judiciary" Mother Jones, November/December 2003

8. Toyota Motor Mfg., Kentucky v. Williams, 534 U.S. 184 (2002)

9. Alliance for Justice

10. Hedgepeth v. Wash. Metro. Area Transit Auth., 386 F.3d 1148 (D.C. Cir. 2004)

11. Rancho Viejo, LLC v. Norton, 334 F.3d 1158 (D.C. Cir. 2003 cert. denied)

12. Court: U.S. May Resume Detainee Tribunals, Associated Press, July 16th 2005


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