ACLU analysis of John Roberts
AAsch at aol.com
AAsch at aol.com
Mon Sep 12 20:56:17 PDT 2005
ACLU Policy 519 requires the ACLU to prepare a summary of every Supreme
Court nominee's record on civil liberties issue. I just got through reading the
one on John Roberts and thought members of this list might be interested in
it. It's at:
There's a little good news, but here's a summary of the bad news from an
ACLU perspective, with more details in the report:
"Roberts has relied on notions of ‘judicial restraint’ and ‘states’ rights’
throughout his career to advocate positions that the ACLU has opposed. For
• He ruled that the Geneva Conventions are not judicially enforceable and
upheld the military commissions established by President Bush through executive
• He argued that Congress has the power to strip the Supreme Court of
jurisdiction to hear cases involving abortion, school prayer and busing, although
he also argued against exercising that power as a matter of policy.
• He opposed efforts to reinstate the 'effects' test under the Voting Rights
Act, arguing that federal law should only protect minority voting rights
against acts of intentional discrimination.
• He opposed affirmative action.
• He signed a brief while in the Solicitor General’s Office urging that Roe
v. Wade be overruled. (During his confirmation hearings for the D.C. Court
of Appeals, Roberts described Roe as “the settled law of the land.”).
• He argued that female prisoners could be given fewer services than male
prisoners and opposed any judicially enforced notion of comparable worth.
• He sought to limit access to the courts by advocating a narrow view of
standing and arguing against implied rights of action.
• He sought to place restrictions of federal habeas corpus long before
Congress acted to put those restrictions in place.
• He argued that plaintiffs should be required to prove coercion in order to
prevail on an Establishment Clause claim, and expressed no objection to a
proposed constitutional amendment authorizing a moment of silence in schools.
• He suggested that New York Times v. Sullivan had tilted First Amendment
law too far in favor of journalists and that public figures should be allowed
to recover for libel based on nothing more than negligence so long as they
were willing to forego any claim to punitive damages."
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