Your friendly neighborhood conservative?

Newly released documents indicate there's a harsh legal mind lurking beneath John Roberts' friendly facade.


J.J.Helland
August 19, 2005 8:34PM (UTC)

More evidence has emerged that Supreme Court nominee John Robert's sunny fagade masks the mind of a committed right-winger. The Washington Post reports that newly released archivial material, dating from when Roberts was a legal advisor in the Reagan White House, details a broad skepticism regarding women's rights and a deeply conservative outlook.

The Post article notes that internal memos and other documents reveal that Roberts had implored President Reagan to reject "any form of the proposed Equal Rights Amendment pending in Congress," and that Roberts also "concluded that some state initiatives to curb workplace discrimination against women relied on legal tools that were 'highly objectionable.'" Roberts also reportedly considered the problem of gender bias to be inflated, and in a July 31, 1985, memo questioned "whether encouraging homemakers to become lawyers contributes to the common good."

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The article also mentions that Roberts favored the implementation of a national identity card in order to prove American citizenship -- a necessary response, he wrote, to the "real threat to our social fabric posed by uncontrolled immigration." And in commenting on whether recipients of federal funds should be allowed to use that money for political advocacy -- something liberal groups claimed would have put them at a disadvantage -- Roberts wrote that it was "possible to 'defund the left' without alienating [defense contractors] TRW and Boeing, but the proposals, if enacted, would do both."

According to a New York Times report, a number of memos from 1983 also illustrate Roberts' opposition to affirmative action, as he criticized a California law that "required the order of layoffs to reflect affirmative action considerations" and deemed a plan to charge women lower tution at state schools in Florida because of their lower earning potential "presumably unconstitutional."

It seems increasingly clear that the only question that remains about Judge Roberts is not whether he is a conservative ideologue, but whether Democrats will treat him like one during his upcoming confirmation hearings.


J.J.Helland

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