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Civil rights leaders oppose U.S. court nominee
Wed Aug 31, 2005 06:42 PM ET
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Leading civil rights and women's rights groups opposed U.S. Supreme Court nominee John Roberts on Wednesday in an uphill bid to deny the 50-year-old conservative confirmation by the U.S. Senate.
With the Senate Judiciary Committee set to begin confirmation hearings on Tuesday, they cited Roberts' record, primarily as a lawyer in the Reagan administration two decades ago, to portray him as a threat to equal justice who should be denied a seat on the nation's highest court.
"John Roberts' record is extensive and troubling," Debra Ness of the National Partnership for Women & Families told a Capitol Hill news conference.
"John Roberts consistently has taken the most narrow, restrictive views of civil rights and women's rights," Ness added.
She was joined by leaders of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, and National Women's Law Center.
A parade of liberal groups have come out against Roberts in recent days, and more plan to do so. Many are particularly concerned that Roberts might seek to reverse the 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion.
Roberts' defenders, including fiscal and social conservatives, have dismissed the criticism while applauding the nominee as a "mainstream conservative" who recently received the American Bar Association's highest rating.
Heading into the hearings, expected to last about a week, Roberts seems to enjoy broad support in the Senate, which Republicans control, holding 55 of 100 seats.
No Senate Democrat has announced opposition, but a number of them have voiced concerns. Others have spoken glowingly of the Harvard-educated family man who has served the past two years as a federal appeals court judge.
"It's an uphill battle," NAACP Chairman Julian Bond said of the effort to convince the Senate to reject Roberts.
"Some senators seem overcome by his attractiveness, his cute children, his attractive wife, his pleasant demeanor," Bond said in a brief interview. "But the issue is his record, which raises grave concerns."
In recent weeks, the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library has released ten of thousands of pages of documents stemming from Roberts' work in the Reagan administration.
Record show Roberts embraced and pushed many of Reagan's most conservative efforts, which critics charged threatened decades of progress in civil rights and women's rights.
The Reagan Library on Wednesday released an additional 420 pages of documents that were earlier withheld.
One showed a 1983 letter he wrote while working in the Reagan White House counsel's office about legislation proposed in Congress to create a new federal appeals court, an idea he and others in the administration had opposed.
"Our only hope is that Congress will continue to do what it does best -- nothing," Roberts wrote. The measure never became law.
The Reagan Library also scrambled to make public other Roberts' records discovered earlier this week.
The National Archives ordered personnel from other presidential libraries to help the Reagan Library conduct needed reviews before these materials could be released.
by alfayoko2005 | 2005-09-01 22:18