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The closing argument against John Roberts Jnrnomination as the

America's number one Judge

By Dr. Lorraine Cole

The "job interview" for the lifetime position of chief justice
of the United States is over. Funny, he didn't look like
Justice Clarence Thomas. But, eyes closed, Judge John G.
Roberts  certainly evoked déjà vu of Thomas' confirmation
hearings 14 years ago. Roberts' responses to many of
the tough questions posed by members of the Senate
Judicial Committee were as evasive and obtuse as those
heard during the Thomas hearings, and in some
instances, appeared verbatim.

On the subject of privacy, both Roberts and Thomas in
their confirmation hearings acknowledged a belief that
there is a right to privacy that is protected under the due
process clause of the 14th Amendment.

But Thomas, on the Court, now says the Constitution
includes no "general" right of privacy, and Roberts
refused to differentiate his views from those of Thomas.

Roberts refused to give his views on how far the right to
privacy extends - or whether it applies at all to beginning
of life or end of life issues, or to anything beyond the
right of married couples to use contraceptives.

On questions of legal precedent, both Roberts and
Thomas recognized the principle of stare decisis, which is
Latin for "to stand by that which is decided." But, they
both left the possibility open that any precedent could be

On Roe v. Wade, both Roberts and Thomas described the
case as "settled law." However, eight months after
assuming Justice Thurgood Marshall's seat, Thomas voted
to overturn Roe and filed a joint dissent that "Roe was
wrongly decided, and that it can and should be

Earlier in Roberts' legal career, he co-authored an almost
identical statement about Roe. So, it is logical to conclude
that Roberts' view is in agreement with that of Thomas
on this issue, which is out of the mainstream American

Now that the "job interview" has been completed, there
is no question about Roberts' intellectual capacity, legal
experience and personal likability.

But, these qualities alone are not sufficient for an
affirmative vote to confirm him. Like Thomas, Roberts
stated that he came before the committee with "no

However, he had multiple opportunities to disclose his
views to the American people. His refusal to answer so
many questions is a clear signal that he chooses to hide
his views on privacy, women's health and reproductive
freedoms and a host of other fundamental rights.

The Senate and the American people can only conclude
that his record of hostility on these issues, indeed, is
indicative of his agenda. No Senator can claim to trust
that Roberts' beliefs will not form the basis for stripping
Americans of certain fundamental rights.  

President George W. Bush has maintained that Clarence
Thomas, an iconic judicial conservative, is his idea of a
model Supreme Court justice (along with Justice Antonin
Scalia). As the Roberts confirmation hearings ended, the
American people were left to conclude that Roberts was
nominated because Bush knows that he fits Thomas'
judicial mold.

The American people do not have a vote on who fills the
lifetime job of chief justice of the United States. That is
the duty of the Senate. Therefore, we urge Senators to
vote "no" on the confirmation of John G. Roberts Jr. There
is too much at stake, otherwise.

The writer is the President and CEO of Black Women's
Health Imperative - A charity that focuses on health
issues that disproportionately affect African American


The Case against Judge Roberts

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