Bush's "No" Man
September 16, 2005 - 10:18am ET
Popular This Week
Also Worth Reading
Oh, John Roberts. At least you manage to smile nicely and look pleasant when you refuse, more than 100 times, to give senators any substantive answers on, well, pretty much anything. Privacy? Can't comment. Equal opportunity for women? Rather not say. Civil rights? Can't mention that, either. In case you think I'm exaggerating, watch this very telling video comprising many, many individual clips of Roberts refusing to answer.
While it's certainly true that prospective Supreme Court justices aren't supposed to publicly comment on cases that are pending before the Supreme Court, there's no traditional or ethical reason why Roberts can't comment on cases that have already been decided. But he maintained silence in a lot of those cases, too. In fact, he did it so often that Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., got a little annoyed:
SCHUMER: …[I]n this hearing room, you don't want to criticize or disagree with any decided cases? That seems strange to me. It seems strange, I think, to the American people that you can't talk about decided cases—past cases, not future cases—when you've been nominated to the most important job in the federal judiciary…
Karen Pearl, president of Planned Parenthood, pointed out in her testimony opposing Roberts' confirmation yesterday to the Senate Judiciary Committee, that Roberts has been quite selective in answering questions about settled cases—he answered questions about the Griswold and Eisenstadt cases (which deal with the right to contraception for married and single people) but refused to answer when it came to questions about the Roe and Casey decisions (which deal with the right to choose to end a pregnancy.) So Roberts obviously isn't just refusing to speak publicly about decided cases—he's refusing to speak about cases where he thinks his answers might not go over so well.
One thing Roberts' silence is doing, however, is reinforcing why more than 30 women's, families' and civil rights groups are opposing his confirmation. (See a partial list here). And many of these groups are sponsoring e-mail actions to help the public let their senators know they oppose Roberts. The simplest, most effective thing you can do, though, is to call your senator's office and tell the person who answers the phone that you're a constituent and you'll be very disappointed if Senator___ votes in favor of confirming John Roberts. Find the correct phone number here.
Help us spread the word about these important stories...
Email to a friend
Views expressed on this page are those of the authors and not necessarily those of Campaign for America's Future or Institute for America's Future