In a speech at Golden Gate School of Law in San Francisco yesterday, Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) laid out her concerns about John Roberts’ record and views on fundamental issues, including Title IX, the right to privacy, and protections against clinic violence. “[Roberts’] views are not just of interest to me, but they are of great importance to me because the stakes are so high, particularly for women,” Senator Boxer said. She pointed to a memo that John Roberts wrote in 1981 referring to the “so-called” right to privacy. “Suppose I said, ‘your so-called right to free speech,’ or, ‘your so-called right to vote’ – that would be a stunning attack on our fundamental rights. I view the term ‘so-called right to privacy,’ as a stunning attack on a basic American value,” she said.
Also troubling for Boxer was Roberts’ involvement in the Supreme Court case Bray v. Alexandria. “In that case, Roberts sided with some of the nation’s most violent anti-choice extremists…When John Roberts and his office sided with dangerous anti-choice extremists in 1991 and 1992, clinic violence was rampant, and he would have known it,” said Boxer. “Now, I’m sure John Roberts does not condone violence. But he played a top leadership role in deciding which cases to appeal, and how. And he must tell us why he used his powerful position to side with Operation Rescue and a convicted bomber.”
In interviews after her speech, Senator Boxer said that if Roberts refuses to answer questions during his hearings, she will “use all the parliamentary tools I’ve been given as a US Senator,” including making it “difficult for other business to get done until we get the information we need,” according to the San Francisco Chronicle.