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Tuesday, July 19, 2005

BREAKING: John Roberts Jr. is SCOTUS Nominee

Bush is nominating John Roberts Jr. as his first nominee for the United States Supreme Court.

Roberts is a federal appeals court judge.

Now the AP has details:
President Bush chose federal appeals court judge John G. Roberts Jr. on Tuesday as his first nominee for the Supreme Court, selecting a rock solid conservative whose nomination could trigger a tumultuous battle over the direction of the nation's highest court, senior administration officials said.

Bush offered the position to Roberts in a telephone call at 12:35 p.m. after a luncheon with the visiting prime minister of Australia, John Howard. He was to announce it later with a flourish in a nationally broadcast speech to the nation.

Roberts has been on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit since June 2003 after being picked for that seat by Bush.

Advocacy groups on the right say that Roberts, a 50-year-old native of Buffalo, N.Y., who attended Harvard Law School, is a bright judge with strong conservative credentials he burnished in the administrations of former Presidents Bush and Reagan. While he has been a federal judge for just a little more than two years, legal experts say that whatever experience he lacks on the bench is offset by his many years arguing cases before the Supreme Court.

Liberal groups, however, say Roberts has taken positions in cases involving free speech and religious liberty that endanger those rights. Abortion rights groups allege that Roberts is hostile to women's reproductive freedom and cite a brief he co-wrote in 1990 that suggested the Supreme Court overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 high court decision that legalized abortion.
This from the National Organization of Women:
John G. Roberts
Nominated to United States Court of Appeals, Washington, D.C. Circuit.

Former Deputy Solicitor for Kenneth Starr.

Associate White House counsel for four years under the Reagan Administration.

Overturning Roe was such a primary focus of the Reagan Administration's Justice Department that during an oral argument by the nominee to the Supreme Court a Justice asked, "Mr. Roberts, in this case, are you asking that Roe v. Wade be overruled?" His reply was, "No your honor, the issue doesn't even come up." To this the justice replied, "Well that hasn't prevented the Solicitor General from taking that position in prior cases."*

As Deputy Solicitor General, Roberts argued in a brief before the Supreme Court that "we continue to believe that Roe was wrongly decided and should be overruled. The Court's conclusion in Roe that there is a fundamental right to an abortion...finds no support in the text, structure, or history of the Constitution."*

As Deputy Solicitor General, Roberts filed an amicus curiae brief in support of Operation Rescue and named individuals who routinely blocked access to clinics. The brief argued that the protesters' behavior did not discriminate against women and that blockades and clinic protests were protected speech under the First Amendment.

This case, Bray v. Alexandria Women's Health Clinic, spurred the Congress to enact the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act.

Lead counsel for Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Ky, Inc. v. Williams. The case involved a woman who was fired after asking Toyota for accommodations to do her job after being diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome.

The court ruled that while this condition impaired her ability to work, it did not impair her ability to perform major life activities. Disability rights groups fear that this decision may erode the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Filed an amicus brief in Adarand v. Mineta in Oct. 2001, supporting a challenge to federal affirmative action programs. He also argued against Title IX as applied to the NCAA in NCAA v. Smith.
Sources: NARAL and Brief for the Respondent at 13, Rust v. Sullivan, 500 US 173, 1991
There's also this from Wikipedia:
John G. Roberts Jr. (born in Buffalo, New York, 1955) is a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, having been nominated by President George W. Bush on May 9, 2001, and confirmed by the United States Senate on May 8, 2003.

Roberts graduated from Harvard College in 1976. Roberts receivied his Juris Doctorate from the Harvard Law School in 1979.

He was a law clerk for Henry Friendly, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, 1979-1980, and for Associate Justice William Rehnquist, Supreme Court of the United States, 1980-1981. He then took a job as special assistant to William French Smith, the attorney general, U.S. Department of Justice, 1981-1982, before being appointed associate counsel to President Ronald Reagan, White House Counsel's Office, 1982-1986.

He entered private practice in 1986 as an associate at the Washington D.C. law firm of Hogan & Hartson, but left to serve from 1989-1993 as Principal Deputy Solicitor General, U.S. Department of Justice. He returned to Hogan and Harston in 1993 as a partner where he remained until he was appointed to the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. In private practice and as Principal Deputy Solicitor General he has argued more than 30 cases in front of the United States Supreme Court.

Roberts has been mentioned frequently as being near the top of the list of potential nominees to the Supreme Court of the United States, should one of the current justices leave the Court during George W. Bush's presidency.
As we build up a profile of Roberts, we'll post more information here.

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