As Hearings Begin, Roberts Has a Lot to Explain

Media 09.12,05

“Today the Senate Judiciary Committee, charged with maintaining the integrity of America’s courts, will begin hearings to evaluate whether John Roberts is the right person to lead our nation’s highest court.

The stakes could not be higher. As our country’s most important judge, the next chief justice will serve as protector of the rights, liberties, and freedoms of all Americans for generations to come.

President Bush has dug in his heels by refusing to release relevant documents from Roberts’ time as a top political appointee and dragged his feet on releasing thousands of other records. This is no time to hide the ball. Given that the next chief justice will affect the lives of all Americans, the Bush administration has a clear obligation to the public to provide the Senate with everything it needs to fully review Roberts’ record.

President Bush’s refusal to fully produce relevant documents is particularly disturbing given what we already know about Roberts’ record. Throughout his career, Roberts has advocated an excessively narrow reading of civil rights laws like the Voting Rights Act and Title IX and has advocated disturbing efforts to weaken landmark civil rights policies such as court-ordered desegregation of public schools.

Americans deserve a chief justice who will preserve and protect our fundamental rights and freedoms. John Roberts must use the hearings as an opportunity to account for his unacceptable stances on civil rights and other important issues. As it stands, he has a lot to explain.”