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Saturday, August 27, 2005

The case against Roberts solidifies

Adam Cohen at NYT has an excellent op-ed about Roberts’ apparent extreme states’ rights position:
There could be a lot of talk about toads at the confirmation hearings for John Roberts Jr. In one of the few revealing opinions he has written in his brief time on the bench, Judge Roberts voted to reconsider a ruling that said the Endangered Species Act protected the arroyo Southwestern toad from being wiped out by a real estate development. He strongly suggested that Congress could protect only a species whose demise would affect "interstate commerce" - but that toad, he wrote, is a "hapless toad that, for reasons of its own, lives its entire life in California."

Judge Roberts's opinion, with its wry reference to the possibility that an entire species could be destroyed, disturbed environmentalists. But its implications go far beyond the environment. It suggests that Judge Roberts - who broke with even a majority of the conservative judges on his court - may hold extreme states' rights views, the kind that could sharply limit Congress's power to protect ordinary Americans from discrimination, pollution and unsafe workplaces. Much of the early discussion of Judge Roberts has focused on whether he would vote to overturn Roe v. Wade, but his views on federal power could be the sleeper issue.

I'm with Adam on this. Folks don't seem to be giving Roberts' narrow view of the Commerce clause the attention it is due.

On women’s issues, the Women’s Vote Center newsletter issued yesterday contains a summary of the main points:
Today, Americans celebrate Women's Equality Day, which marks the passage of the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution in 1920, giving women the right to vote.
With 80 women Members of Congress and thousands of women legislators around the country, we have made great strides. As we reflect on the gains women have made, the Senate prepares to consider the nomination of John Roberts to the Supreme Court, and we are reminded of just how critical it is that we have a nominee who will continue to move forward, not turn back the hands of time for women in America.

As the White House continues to stonewall on key memos written by Roberts, serious questions regarding his commitment to women's rights remain. His earlier writings reflect a disturbing trend of hostility towards women's rights, including addressing the pay gap, access to educational opportunity and Title IX. As a sign of respect for women in America and all that they contribute to our nation every day, President Bush should release these critical documents so that we can know the full story.

These points are described in more detail in the WVC newsletter, and even more in a brief (pdf) by the National Women’s Law Center.

And NARAL has released a new ad against Roberts that even FactCheck.org doesn’t have a problem with. The ad emphasizes Roberts' reference to "the so-called right to privacy" - yikes. I wonder how many republicans will still like the idea of the court not supporting the right to privacy - when it affects something they want to keep private?

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