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Roberts Reject

By Dr. Lorraine Cole

President Bush missed three important opportunities in his
nomination of John G. Roberts Jr to the US Supreme Court.

First, he could have sought to expand the diversity of the
Supreme Court to be more reflective of the country. America
is more diverse as a nation today than at any other point in
history. Secondly, he could have sought to maintain the
gender balance of the Court.

With the retirement of Sandra Day O'Connor, the Supreme
Court has lost 50 percent of its female representation. But,
thirdly and most disturbingly, the President missed an
opportunity to select a candidate who would inspire
confidence among all Americans that individual rights and
personal freedom would be protected.

Throughout his career, Roberts has consistently supported
and promoted a legislative agenda that placed the rights of
women and minority groups in jeopardy.

As Sandra Day O'Connor's replacement, Roberts would cast
the deciding vote on countless matters of individual rights,
many of which could disproportionately impact Black women.

O'Connor had been the swing vote, often in a 5-to-4 split,
on issues like birth control, abortion, affirmative action,
family and medical leave, health care, disability rights, Title
IX equal educational opportunity and privacy rights.

Roberts' record is thin, but highly questionable on issues of
women's health, safety and privacy.

However, his opposition to Roe v. Wade is clear.

In an amicus brief (Rust v. Sullivan) that he authored as
Deputy Solicitor General, in which Roe was not even at
issue, he stated: "Roe was wrongly decided and should be
overruled."

This raises very serious concerns about his ability to be a
fair, independent-minded Supreme Court Justice.  

Decisions about women's lives should be made by women.
And, decisions about women's health should be between a
woman and her doctor, not the government.

John G. Roberts Jr. is apparently out of the mainstream of
America on these issues.

If this is true and he is confirmed to a lifetime appointment
on the Supreme Court, the privacy of every woman's sexual
health and reproductive rights, as well as access to critical
health services, would be threatened for decades to come.  

And, once we start down that road, who knows what could
be next?

The Senate has an important duty in front of them. They
need to ask the important questions of this nominee and
Roberts has an obligation to answer.

The White House obviously knows his views. But, the
Supreme Court doesn't belong to this President. It belongs
to the American people and they deserve to know Roberts'
answers.

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
women.

Rejecting Judge Roberts Jr.

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