Marla R. Stevens

A smart, polite, nice guy asshole is still an asshole

Filed By Marla R. Stevens | July 19, 2005 8:13 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics

The early info is in and, while he's smart as a whip and writes and argues well, some seem to think he's a stand-up guy, and he doesn't seem to beat dogs in excess, Judge John G. Roberts, Jr. is anything but a moderate. He is hostile to my right to control my own body -- which always points to the stinky where queer rights are concerned, thinks the public's air and earth and water are fair game for corporate trashing, is a danger to the separation of church and state, is part of the Republican "so many votes to steal, so little time" machine, and not only hangs with a bad crowd, he's one of their gang leaders.

He couldn't pass muster before a decent Senate (they rejected him twice) and the Alliance for Justice has been on record opposing him from the get-go.

'Nuff said, as far as I'm concerned.

Chances are the Senators will be weighing, not reading the mail on this one. Wrap bricks in brown paper, write "No on Roberts" on them, properly address them, affix sufficient postage, then mail the suckers ASAP and often.

-- Marla

From the Independent Judiciary website [Added notes and emphases are mine -- MRS]:

General Background. Mr. Roberts, a partner at the D.C. law firm Hogan & Hartson, has long-standing and deep connections to the Republican Party. He is a member of the Republican National Lawyers Association and worked as a political appointee in both the Reagan and Bush I administrations. President George H. W. Bush nominated Mr. Roberts to the D.C. Circuit, but he was considered by some on the Senate Judiciary Committee to be too extreme in his views, and his nomination lapsed. He was nominated by President George W. Bush to the same seat in May 2001. [NOTE: That one failed, too. It took an election, not a changed man, to get him on the federal bench.]

Reproductive Rights. As a Deputy Solicitor General, Mr. Roberts co-wrote a Supreme Court brief in Rust v. Sullivan, 1 for the first Bush administration, which argued that the government could prohibit doctors in federally-funded family planning programs from discussing abortions with their patients [NOTE: even if failing to do so would produce complications serious enough for the failure to constitute a Hippocratic Oath violation]. The brief not only argued that the regulations were constitutional, notwithstanding the Supreme Court's decision in Roe v. Wade, but it also made the broader argument that Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided - an argument unnecessary to defend the regulation. The Supreme Court sided with the government on the narrower grounds that the regulation was constitutional.

Environmental Issues. As a student, Mr. Roberts wrote two law review articles arguing for an expansive reading of the Contracts and Takings clauses of the Constitution, taking positions that would restrict Congress' ability to protect the environment. As a member of the Solicitor General's office, Mr. Roberts was the lead counsel for the United States in the Supreme Court case Lujan v. National Wildlife Federation, in which the government argued that private citizens could not sue the federal government for violations of environmental regulations.

As a lawyer in private practice, Mr. Roberts has also represented large corporate interests opposing environmental controls. He submitted an amicus brief on behalf of the National Mining Association in the recent case Bragg v. West Virginia Coal Association. 3 In this case, a three-judge panel of the Fourth Circuit reversed a district court ruling that had stopped the practice of "mountaintop removal" in the state of West Virginia. Citizens of West Virginia who were adversely affected by the practice had sued the state, claiming damage to both their homes and the surrounding area generally. [NOTE: Rivers that were coming back to life have become clogged with toxic sludge, groundwater quality has been adversely affected, and environmental-genus illnesses in these areas are now on the increase.] Three Republican appointees -- Judges Niemeyer, Luttig, and Williams -- held that West Virginia's issuance of permits to mining companies to extract coal by blasting the tops off of mountains and depositing the debris in nearby valleys and streams did not violate the 1977 Federal Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act. 4 [NOTE: This would have been an absolutely laughable decision if the human and environmental results of it had not been so tragic.] This decision was greeted with great dismay by environmental groups. In another case, Roberts represented one of several intervenors in a case challenging the EPA's promulgation of rules to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions. 5

Civil Rights. After a Supreme Court decision effectively nullified certain sections of the Voting Rights Act, Roberts was involved in the Reagan administration's effort to prevent Congress from overturning the Supreme Court's action. 6 The Supreme Court had recently decided that certain sections of the Voting Rights Act could only be violated by intentional discrimination and not by laws that had a discriminatory effect, despite a lack of textual basis for this interpretation in the statute. Roberts was part of the effort to legitimize that decision and to stop Congress from overturning it.

Religion in Schools. While working with the Solicitor General's office, Mr. Roberts co-wrote an amicus brief on behalf of the Bush administration, in which he argued that public high schools can include religious ceremonies in their graduation programs, a view the Supreme Court rejected. 7

Pro Bono. Mr. Roberts has engaged in significant pro bono work while at Hogan and Hartson, including representation of indigent clients and criminal defendants. [NOTE: He can more than afford it and it's considered de riguer for those vying for higher office, as he's clearly been. I wouldn't necessarily chalk this up to altruism.]

Other Information. Mr. Roberts is a member of two prominent, right-wing legal groups that promote a pro-corporate, anti-regulatory [NOTE: and rabidly anti-gay] agenda: the Federalist Society and the National Legal Center For The Public Interest, serving on the latter group's Legal Advisory Council.

Mr. Roberts lists his net worth as over $3.7 million.

1 500 U.S. 173 (1991).
2 497 U.S. 871 (1990).
3 248 F.3d 275 (4th Cir. 2001).
4 30 U.S.C. §1201.
5 State of Michigan v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 254 F.3d 1087 (Fed. Cir. 2001).
6 See City of Mobile v. Bolden 446 U.S. 55 (1980).
7 Lee v. Weisman, 505 U.S. 577 (1992).

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