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Tuesday, September 6, 2005


NAF Communications Department

NAF Calls on Senate to Reject Nomination of John Roberts to be Chief Justice of the United States

Statement of Vicki Saporta, NAF President and CEO

We would like to offer our condolences to Chief Justice Rehnquist's family and friends.

At the same time, we realize that the stakes could not be higher for maintaining the fragile balance on the Supreme Court. For the first time since 1971, a U.S. President has the opportunity to fill two vacancies on America's highest court, including the single most powerful and influential judicial position in the land. The chief justice is a lifetime appointee who will serve as the leader of the third branch of government. It is essential that a justice who honors established precedent and the constitutional right of privacy be chosen for this position. American's right to privacy and women's reproductive freedom hang in the balance.

NAF opposes the nomination of Judge John Roberts to Chief Justice of the United States. We opposed Roberts when he was nominated to the District of Columbia Circuit Court in 2003; we opposed Roberts when he was nominated in July as an associate justice to the U.S. Supreme Court; and we now vigorously oppose the elevation of a man who is clearly hostile to Roe v. Wade.

Judge Roberts has argued for the reversal of Roe and stated that there was "no support in the text, structure, or history of the Constitution" for the reasoning behind Roe. Roberts co-authored a brief arguing that "[w]e continue to believe that Roe was wrongly decided and should be overruled..." in a case where the validity of Roe was not at issue. Roberts referred to a fundamental right to privacy as merely a "so-called" right and he has argued for narrow interpretations of other women's rights when it comes to constitutional protection against sex discrimination, equal opportunities in education, and protecting women in the workplace. He even argued against the federal government's protection of women being harassed and physically intimidated at reproductive health clinics.

Although the quest for vital information about this candidate continues, the little information that has been made public paints the picture of a jurist who narrowly interprets the law and holds views not shared by the majority of Americans.

Confirming John Roberts to the highest judicial position in the United States would likely be devastating to women's reproductive freedom, women's health, Americans' right to privacy, and more. If confirmed, Roberts would be the youngest Chief Justice since 1802, and would be in a position to roll back the rights and freedoms Americans hold dear for generations to come. His narrow, conservative thinking would lead the court for the next seven or eight Presidential terms.

Americans will not tolerate retreating to the days of back-alley abortions when women had to sacrifice their lives and health to end an unwanted pregnancy. We call on the Senate to stand up to President Bush's attempt to destroy the fragile balance on the Supreme Court and further his own agenda to restrict reproductive freedom. We also call on President Bush to respect Americans' desire for Supreme Court nominees who will uphold Roe and a woman's right to a safe and legal abortion.

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