Connect with us
Their talking points were ready the minute he was named

archive

Left Comes Out Swinging at Roberts

Their talking points were ready the minute he was named

As Human Events reported last week, liberal interest groups were preparing an all-out war on President Bush’s nominee for the Supreme Court—even before one was named. Then, moments after word leaked that John Roberts was the nominee, the battle began.

Appearing on MSNBC’s “Hardball” as the news broke, People For the American Way President Ralph Neas immediately launched an attack on Roberts—proving, as conservatives suspected, that the left would attack the President’s nominee no matter who he named.

But despite the vitriol spewed by Neas and his liberal cohorts, Senate Democrats restrained themselves, at least for the moment, from an effort to smear Roberts.  That could soon change, however. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas faced his harshest criticism 41 days after President George H.W. Bush nominated him in 1991.

Here is just a sampling of liberal reaction, some of which came only minutes or hours after Bush’s announcement of the Roberts nomination on Tuesday:

—————

“With respect to John Roberts, we were disappointed that the President did not name someone in the mold of Sandra Day O’Connor.  We hoped that the bipartisan consultation was real.  It was a charade.  They talked to senators, but they really didn’t listen.

“We were hoping and praying that President Bush would appear with the Democratic leader and the Republican leader, and the nominee tonight, with a unity candidate, someone who will help bring the country together.

“There are lots of problems with John Roberts.  And it’s not anything to do with his likeability or his legal skills.  But there are a lot of people on the right who think he is their darling, that he is in the mold of [Clarence] Thomas and [Antonin] Scalia.”

—People For the American Way
President Ralph Neas,
PBS’s “The Charlie Rose Show,”
July 19, 2005

—————

“We had hoped that we in the civil rights community and the broad progressive community in general would have been able to enthusiastically embrace the President’s nominee for the Supreme Court and that, like most Americans, would be able to get behind that nominee and hope for his or her confirmation.

“Unfortunately, the President had an opportunity to unite our country and to choose a consensus nominee who represented all Americans, but instead, he’s chosen a nominee whose record raises perhaps as many questions as it answers about where he stands on critical constitutional and legal issues.  We have not expressed, I should remind you, opposition to Judge Roberts’ candidacy, but we have said that serious questions have been raised that require a thorough review by the Senate Judiciary Committee.”

—Leadership Conference on Civil Rights
Executive Director Wade Henderson,
NPR’s “Talk of the Nation,”
July 20, 2005

—————

“We have several concerns, although I think it’s important to note that we have not opposed Judge Roberts’ elevation at this point to the Supreme Court.

“We’re concerned about some of his dissents on the D.C. Circuit that would curb Congress’s authority to address national problems, such as environmental pollution, discrimination, unsafe workplace conditions.

“In addition, while he worked for the Reagan and Bush administrations—that is George Bush’s father’s administration—he advanced legal policies that would limit voting rights for African-Americans, reproductive rights for women, church-state separation, environmental protection—it’s a whole host of major concerns.”

—Alliance for Justice
President Nan Aron,
CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees,”
July 19, 2005

—————

“This is a nominee whose very intent is to overturn Roe. And I think that the American public, like I said, who don’t want Roe overturned, have said that to this President, it isn’t enough for a wink and a nod, we expect the Senate to ask the questions, we expect the nominee to answer the question, and we expect them to uphold our freedom as women and our privacy.”

—NARAL Pro-Choice America
President Nancy Keenan,
MSNBC’s “The Situation with Tucker Carlson,”
July 19, 2005

—————

“This is probably going to surprise you, but Planned Parenthood is not taking a position on Judge Roberts, because Judge Roberts, we don’t really know where he stands on the issue of Roe v. Wade and on the issue of choice.

“And we are going to encourage all of the senators to find that out, to ask questions, to probe deeply and find out where he stands on choice, on privacy, on contraception, on women’s health and safety.  And we will not be taking a position on him until we hear the answers to those questions. And if we hear the answers that he supports privacy and he supports women’s health and safety, we will support him.

“And if he doesn’t support those things, then we won’t. But, right now, we don’t know where he stands.”

—Planned Parenthood
Interim President Karen Pearl,
MSNBC’s “Scarborough Country,”
July 19, 2005

—————

“I am extremely disappointed that the President did not appoint a centrist woman to fill Sandra Day O’Connor’s seat on the Supreme Court. We are now going back to tokenism for women on the highest court in the land.

“Everything we know about Judge Roberts’ record this far indicates that he will be a solid vote against women’s rights and Roe v. Wade. If he is to be confirmed by senators who support women’s rights, he must say where he stands on Roe and the right to privacy. The burden is on him.”

—Feminist Majority
President Eleanor Smeal,
press statement,
July 20, 2005

—————

“I think it was probably one of the best switch-and-bait moves I have seen in politics.  We all get up this afternoon with Judge [Edith] Clement, which would have been a terrible choice, as far as I am concerned, and then he gives us someone that appears to be more presentable.  Clearly, there are problems for many of us, the Roe v. Wade position he took, the fact that he worked with Ken Starr.  I am sure there will be other things that we will object to.

“But, I mean, one of the ways you have to deal with this is that, when they show you the absolute worst and give you something different, you almost feel relieved.  I am sure, once we look at the record, we may not be as relieved as we think we are.”

—Former Democratic presidential candidate Al Sharpton,
MSNBC’s “Scarborough Country,”
July 19, 2005

—————

“The question is, not what is and isn’t explicitly in the Constitution, but what is his view of precedent on the issue of the right to privacy.

“Most jurists agree, conservatives, liberal alike, that there is a right to privacy of some sort in the Constitution. What does John Roberts think about that? There has also been at least one example of a decision when he was on the court of appeals where the court approved the constitutionality of the Endangered Species Act.

“John Roberts was one of only two even Republican conservative judges on the court of appeals to argue that they should reconsider that issue, which strongly suggests there’s serious concerns about him and this whole Constitution in exile.”

—People For the American Way
Vice President Eilliot Mincberg,
MSNBC’s “The Situation with Tucker Carlson,”
July 19, 2005

Newsletter Signup.

Sign up to the Human Events newsletter

Up Next:

Runners-Up:

Written By

Mr. Bluey, a contributing editor to Human Events, is director of the Center for Media & Public Policy at The Heritage Foundation. He maintains a blog at RobertBluey.com.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Advertisement
Advertisement

TRENDING NOW:

YouTube Won’t Let You Watch Lauren Southern’s ‘Borderless’

FOREIGN AFFAIRS

Global Elites Started The Russia Nonsense.

U.S. POLITICS

Trump Puts British Intel Under Spotlight: ‘I Hope [Barr] Looks at the UK… I May Talk to PM…’

FOREIGN AFFAIRS

Kassam Banned From Facebook on UK Election Day.

TECH

Connect
Newsletter Signup.

Sign up to the Human Events newsletter