Rarely would I actually repost a post verbatim (in fact, this is the first time I have ever done that) but with the announcement today that President Bush will renominate John Roberts to be not only a Justice of the Supreme Court, but its Chief Justice, I believe it is appropriate to do so. The position of Chief Justice is a unique one on the court. Not only in terms of salary (which means that Mr. Roberts will start out making more money than any of his senior colleagues) but because of the role of the chief justice in setting the court's schedule and generally setting the tone of the court.
Other than the fact that it is interesting that President Bush apparently didn't feel comfortable nominating either Antonin Scalia or Clarence Thomas (the two most stalwart conservatives on the court) to the position, it is even more important that we have a thorough understanding of John Roberts.
I first posted this on August 15.
Today, the Ronald Reagan library and archives released over 5,000 pages of documents relating to Supreme Court nominee John G. Roberts.
And they certainly cast light on his views on some (if not all) of the subjects that are of the most concern to many people.
For example, in a memo on November 21, 1985,Roberts criticized the Supreme Court's decision prohibiting "meditation or voluntary prayer" in Alabama schools. Roberts said the ruling's conclusion that "the Constitution prohibits such a moment of silent reflection -- or even silent 'prayer' -- seems indefensible."
Of course the reason behind the ruling is that in such a setting, 'voluntary' is often accompanied by intense pressure from both peers and school officials, as it was in Alabama under the law that the court threw out. The court decided that school should not be a place for coercion. Just that simple. This ruling, notice, did not affect such events as the use of a prayer by one person at an event like a game or a graduation, since no one is then forced, or can be coerced, into participating. But apparently Judge Roberts believes that there was no problem with coercion in the name of religion.
Much more disturbing, however, was Roberts' take on a 1983 ruling in which the Washington state supreme court found the state guilty of discrimination for paying women less than men for jobs of "comparable worth."
Roberts wrote about three Republican congresswomen who objected to the ruling (ironically, led by Olympia Snowe of Maine, one of the Senators who will be voting on his confirmation) "I honestly find it troubling that three Republican representatives are so quick to embrace such a radical redistribute concept. Their slogan may as well be 'From each according to his ability, to each according to her gender,'"
It is hard to see, aside from the complete insensitivity that John Roberts shows here in regard to the matter of unequal pay, how this statement, in particular its last line, can be considered anything other than blatantly sexist. The implication is that only men are able, and that working women are asking for money that they don't deserve. I'm not even female, and I find this line absolutely insulting, almost akin to suggesting that we should go back to feudalism.
Troubling. Very troubling.
UPDATE: Now, that is the post as I posted in three weeks ago. However, I should also have mentioned that it is quite curious that in his choice of words to criticized Olympia Snowe and others that he chose to paraphrase Karl Marx. While the clear implication is that working women are asking for pay that they do not deserve (being 'not able') the unwritten and unstated but background implication is that those who are in favor or equal pay are Marxists.