Dear Feminist Activist, [That's me!]
The coalition opposing John Roberts for the Supreme Court is growing. Leading in the opposition to Roberts are women’s groups, convinced from his record he will vote to reverse the right to privacy and Roe v. Wade, and he will undermine federal protections for women’s clinics from violence. Among the groups opposing Roberts are the Feminist Majority, the National Organization for Women, NARAL Pro-Choice America, the National Abortion Federation, MoveOn.org, National Council of Jewish Women, National Coalition of Persons with Disabilities, Rainbow PUSH Coalition, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, the National Latina Coalition for Reproductive Health, ADA Watch, and the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice.
What Is Roberts Hiding?
The White House has now released Roberts’ files from when he was in the Reagan Administration. Despite demands by Democratic Senators, the White House still refuses to release papers from when Roberts was deputy solicitor general under the George Bush, Sr. from 1989 to 1993. During this time, he was the co-author of a brief that said Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided (Rust v. Sullivan) and he defended Operation Rescue and a convicted clinic bomber (Bray v. Alexandria).
In a front page story today, the Washington Post reports that after carefully studying the released papers from his Reagan days that Roberts was in the “the vanguard of a conservative political revolution in civil rights, advocating new legal theories and helping enforce the Reagan administration’s effort to curtail the use of courts to remedy racial and sexual discrimination.”
The papers just released reveal Roberts was for narrowly construing women’s rights and civil rights. He was for limiting racial integration via busing, and would narrow Title IX and affirmative action. For example, in a memo to the attorney general in August 1982, Roberts said he agreed with a decision by a federal district court that limited Title IX, the landmark 1972 law prohibiting sex discrimination in federally funded education. Roberts argued Title IX should only apply to specific programs receiving federal aid, not entire universities. This argument was used by the Reagan Administration in Grove City v. Bell a 1984 US Supreme Court decision that gutted Title IX (which feminists led the fight to reinstate with the Civil Rights Restoration Act of 1987).
Roberts’ Selective Amnesia, Or the Meaning of the Word “Member”
Roberts has been linked to the ultra-conservative Federalist Society, a right-wing law group. Although Roberts says he has no memory of belonging to the Federalist Society, his name is listed in the 1997-98 leadership directory as a member of the steering committee of its Washington chapter. Other members of the Federalist Society, which does not release its membership lists to the public, include former Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork, former Christian Coalition president Donald Paul Hodel, Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT), and Edwin Meese, a trustee of the right-wing Scaife Foundation, and past Solicitor General Theodore Olson. Al Ross, president of the Institute for Democracy Studies (IDS), provided the Federalist Society leadership directory to the Washington Post. The White House had denied reports that Roberts was a member, and had pressured news outlets to issue retractions. Even after the directory was revealed, the White House quibbled over whether Roberts was a “member.”
We will keep you updated on the Roberts fight. Women, who have the most to lose, must be the strongest voice in stopping Roberts. This time, for once, we must not be ignored.
Add your voice to ours by contacting your Senators and the Senate Judiciary Committee today and urging them to thoroughly question Roberts on the right to privacy, women’s rights, and civil rights.
For Women’s Lives,