John Roberts’s public record is somewhat limited, but one way to get an idea of the nature of his views on legal issues is to see who is jumping for joy about his nomination.
First, President Bush chose him. The President has long made it clear that his model Supreme Court Justices are Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia, both of whom have demonstrated hostility to the fundamental rights and freedoms of Americans, including core women’s rights. Clearly Judge Roberts passed muster with the White House on these issues, or he would not have been selected.
Roberts’s enthusiastic support from the far right underscores this concern:
- Last night Operation Rescue issued a press release noting that Roberts “has shown strong conservative credentials with indications that he will not uphold Roe v. Wade.” This morning, Operation Rescue’s President, Troy Newman, said on NPR that he was “thrilled” about the Roberts nomination.
- Shortly after the nomination was announced, Robert Novak went on CNN and said that he was “sure” Roberts wants to overturn Roe v. Wade.
- Jay Sekulow, chief counsel of the American Center of Law and Justice (founded by Pat Robertson), who has known Mr. Roberts as a friend and colleague for 17 years, said of the nomination, “I think this is a tremendous pick.”
- Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, an extreme conservative group, praised President Bush for nominating Roberts: “The President is a man of his word . . . He promised to nominate someone along the lines of a Scalia or a Thomas, and that is exactly what he has done.”
- Fred F. Fielding, a former White House Counsel in the Reagan Administration, said about Roberts, “I know he's conservative by talking with him about issues.” Fielding told the Washington Post that Roberts supports expansive presidential powers and tended toward a “more literal reading of the Constitution.”
- Jan LaRue, counsel to the Concerned Women for America (another very conservative group), said, “Everything I know tells me he meets the president's criteria very well; he clearly is in the mold of [Antonin] Scalia and [Clarence] Thomas.”
- Manuel Miranda, the head of a coalition of conservative groups called the Third Branch Conference, said that the President “hit it out of the ballpark” in picking Roberts.
Before Roberts was named, far-right advocates made it abundantly clear that they would not accept a “stealth nominee” – i.e., one they didn’t trust to serve their agenda. That is what their battle cry, “no more Souters,” is all about. For instance:
- Rush Limbaugh, in his radio broadcast, warned that there “is no longer any room” for a “stealth” nominee without a proven conservative record.
- Manuel Miranda said about the possible selection of Alberto Gonzales: “We don’t know what he really thinks on many, many issues. That is something that conservatives on this nomination cannot tolerate.”
The public has a right to know, and the Senate has a duty to determine, exactly why the White House and its right-wing allies are so confident that Roberts meets their test for a Supreme Court Justice.