Democrats & Liberals Archives

Roberts: A Scalia or a Souter?

Now we learn that Supreme Court nominee John G. Roberts did pro bono work for gay rights activists to help win an important 6-3 U.S. Supreme Court victory for the gay rights movement. Wow! We learned this from papers released to date by the government. I don’t think social conservatives are happy with this. Perhaps conservatives will join liberals in demanding that the government release all documents relevant to Roberts’ legal work. When we see the documents, we will know if Roberts is a super-conservative like Scalia or a moderate like Souter.

The L.A. Times today said:

"Supreme Court nominee John G. Roberts Jr. worked behind the scenes for gay rights activists, and his legal expertise helped them persuade the Supreme Court to issue a landmark 1996 ruling protecting people from discrimination because of their sexual orientation.

"Then a lawyer specializing in appellate work, the conservative Roberts helped represent the gay rights activists as part of his law firm's pro bono work. He did not write the legal briefs or argue the case before the high court, but he was instrumental in reviewing filings and preparing oral arguments, according to several lawyers intimately involved in the case.

"Gay rights activists at the time described the court's 6-3 ruling as the movement's most important legal victory. The dissenting justices were those to whom Roberts is frequently likened for their conservative ideology: Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas."

This was with reference to Romer vs. Evans, a case gay rights activists touted as a big achievement for their cause. Yet Roberts said he did not remember taking part in it. He forgot to include it in his 67 page reply to the Senate Judicial Committee questionnaire that asked about pro bono work that he had done.

Could it be he was worried that conservatives would not approve? Could it be that Roberts is not as conservative as he appears to be? Could it be that conservatives should be more worried about this stealth candidate than liberals are?

Could it be that if enough information is gathered about Roberts, BOTH conservatives and liberals will vote against him?

The Democrats have been seeking more information and the administration has been stonewalling. All social conservatives were happy with the Roberts choice. Do social conservatives still think Roberts is one of them? They do not know - just as liberals do not know.

There is only one way to find out - get all the papers. Everybody wants to know: Is Roberts another Scalia or another Souter?

Posted by Paul Siegel at August 4, 2005 5:00 PM