Newly Released Memos Confirm Roberts’ Hostility to Women’s Rights

Papers released on Thursday by the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library show that John Roberts, President Bush’s nominee for the Supreme Court, was hostile to measures designed to protect and expand women’s rights. For example, Roberts called state measures to reduce sex discrimination in the workplace “highly objectionable,” including a proposal to require women to be paid the same as men for state jobs considered of comparable worth, according to the Washington Post. The “comparable worth” strategy itself Roberts called “staggeringly pernicious” and “anti-capitalist,” the Post reports. Other memos show Roberts taking aim at the gender gap, saying that the Equal Rights Amendment was simply an attempt to “bridge the purported ‘gender gap’,” according to Slate.com.

In another memo, noting that a staff member in the White House public liaison office had “encouraged many former homemakers to enter law school and become lawyers,” Roberts wrote, “Some might question whether encouraging homemakers to become lawyers contributes to the common good, but I suppose that is for the judges to decide,” reports the Post. This disparaging comment was dismissed as a “lawyer joke” by White House spokesperson Steve Schmidt, according to the Post.

Other memos have demonstrated Roberts’ opposition to affirmative action, Title IX, and what Roberts calls the “so-called” right to privacy.

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Washington Post 8/19/05; Slate.com, 8/19/05

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