By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
WASHINGTON, D.C.In nominating John Roberts, Chief Justice William Rehnquists former law clerk, for the Supreme Court on Tuesday, President Bush appointed a right-wing lawyer from a major Washington firm, Hogan & Hartson. Roberts was named a D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals judge by Bush and confirmed by the Senate in 2003 after a delay of two years.
The most interesting thing about Roberts is the list of his campaign contributions while he was in private practice. In 2000, he contributed $1,000 to Bushs first presidential campaign, and on several occasions put money into the warchest of Illinois Republican senator Peter G. Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald himself was heavily bankrolled by right-to-life groups.
One of the big questions Roberts is likely to face from the Senate is about his position on Roe v. Wade.
As Deputy Solicitor General under Ronald Reagan, Roberts urged the court to overturn a womans right to choose. People for the American Way singled out his stance in Rust v. Sullivan, which dealt with a rule prohibiting federally funded family planning clinics from discussing abortion with patients, not the validity of Roe, which protects a womens constitutional right to reproductive freedom. Nevertheless, Roberts brief proclaimed that [w]e continue to believe that Roe was wrongly decided and should be overruled and that the courts ruling that a woman has a fundamental right to make her own reproductive choices about abortion has `no support in the text, structure or history of the Constitution.' "
While retiring justice Sandra Day OConnor tends towards the view that abortion was a private matter and seemed to consider Roe as settled law, its less clear how Roberts will regard it. Roberts has said, "Roe v. Wade is the settled law of the land. . . . There's nothing in my personal views that would prevent me from fully and faithfully applying that precedent." But as a Supreme Court justice he would be called on to set new precedents, including one that meant the upending of Roe.
Newsmeat.com, which tracks campaign donations, printed federal election records earlier this evening showing that in addition to giving money to Bush in 2000, Roberts in that cycle also gave Indiana Republican Richard Lugar, chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, $500.
Newsmeat reports that Roberts also made other contributions through the Hogan Hartson Political Action Committee before joining the bench. The firm continues raising money. In the 2006 cycle, the Hogan Hartson PAC has so far gathered $92,370.
As for Robertss judicial record, People for the American Way made these other points: