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Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Trouble Brews

This just in from Senator Leahy's office....

Statement Of Senator Patrick Leahy

(D-Vt., Ranking Member, Senate Judiciary Committee)

On The Recent Documents Relating To The Roberts Nomination

August 16, 2005

Since the President announced his intention to nominate Judge John Roberts to the Supreme Court, Democratic Senators have done our job on behalf of the American people in trying to learn as much as possible about the man who could replace Sandra Day O'Connor for this lifetime appointment to our highest court. As we made clear from the start, there has been no pre-judgment before the facts about this important nomination. Instead, Democratic Senators have gone about fulfilling our constitutional duty by insisting on fair access to documents from John Roberts's time working as a senior policymaker for two Republican Presidents. Although the Bush Administration still refuses to provide the most important examples of Judge Roberts's policy views from his tenure as the politically appointed Principal Deputy Solicitor General, we have been able to review thousands of pages of documents that have been provided by the National Archives and Records Administration in response to earlier public requests.

Those papers that we have received paint a picture of John Roberts as an eager and aggressive advocate of policies that are deeply tinged with the ideology of the far right wing of his party then, and now. In influential White House and Department of Justice positions, John Roberts expressed views that were among the most radical being offered by a cadre intent on reversing decades of policies on civil rights, voting rights, women's rights, privacy, and access to justice.

He advocated overturning a Nixon-era Executive Order that assures non-discrimination in federal contracting; he mocked the efforts of women legislators to find a way to remedy the effects of sex discrimination; he wrote of a "so-called right to privacy" and "so-called fundamental rights;" he opposed efforts to make the voting rights act more effective; and he championed efforts to strip courts of their ability to grant remedies to civil rights plaintiffs, taking a position more extreme than conservative political appointees in the Reagan Justice Department.

When President Bush recently introduced Judge Roberts to the nation, we knew he was a well-educated, accomplished lawyer, but Americans had few other facts. There is still much of Judge Roberts's record that we do not have and that would be useful in considering this lifetime appointment to replace a most influential voice of practical reason on the United States Supreme Court. The White House is steadfastly refusing to follow past precedent and allow Senators to review a good deal of the most relevant material from his work in the Executive Branch. By doing so they raise the inference that there is much to hide. They leave Judge Roberts with a heavier burden to carry during his upcoming hearings before the Judiciary Committee.


Blogger strategery4 said...

Oooh, Leahy says Roberts faces "a heavier burden." Bet the WH is quaking in their boots. Bet NARAL is fully appeased too.

On the merits, though -- and I know this has been debated a lot here already -- seems to me the right answer is that the Senate should get all of the info (and can ask any question) that the Exec Branch had or asked when choosing the nominee. Doesn't all have to be made public (and I'm looking at you now, Senator Schumer), just accessible.

FWIW, it's also been amusing to read the MSM coverage about how Dems aren't opposing Roberts on substance, just pushing for access to documents as a fair process -- as if the reason they were asking for the docs had nothing to do with finding some smoking guns.

8/19/2005 3:42 PM  

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