Roberts Stonewall Continues

On the third day of questioning by Senators on the Judiciary Committee, Roberts continued to refuse to answer questions about his views on abortion rights and the right to privacy. In fact, Roberts’ answer to a question about the right to privacy posed by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) echoed Clarence Thomas’ answer to a similar question during his confirmation hearings. The New York Times is reporting that right-wing lawyers Jay Sekulow, Leonard Leo, and Wendy Long are circulating a memo citing this as proof that after Roberts’ testimony put him in the same camp as Justices Scalia and Thomas.

“His testimony on the right to privacy mirrored that of Clarence Thomas during his Supreme Court confirmation hearing,” wrote Sekulow. “Indeed, he refused to concede that there was a general privacy right, resisting Senator Schumer’s effort to force the term. And, consistent with Justice Thomas’s confirmation testimony, Judge Roberts would not embrace the non-marital right to privacy, stating simply that he had no quarrel with Eisenstadt.”

Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Chuck Schumer (D-NY), understandably frustrated, asked Roberts yesterday, “What kind of a justice would you be, John Roberts?” Roberts said, “I would hope you’d look at my briefs and my arguments before the Supreme Court.”

As deputy solicitor general under the Bush (41) Administration, Roberts co-authored a brief arguing that Roe should be overturned in Rust v. Sullivan. Also as deputy solicitor general, in Bray v. Alexandria, Roberts argued on behalf of anti-abortion extremists, including a convicted clinic bomber, who were blockading access to women’s health clinics and harassing health care workers and patients. His arguments led to preventing the National Organization for Women (NOW) and women entering the clinics from using civil rights statutes to protect themselves. Shortly after the Supreme Court decision against NOW, the clinics, and women patients in Bray, violence at clinics escalated.

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Feminist Majority; Jay Sekulow Trial Notebook 9/16/05; New York Times 9/16/05

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