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Tuesday, September 22, 2005


NAF Communications Department

The National Abortion Federation Urges Senators to Reject the Nomination of Judge John Roberts as Chief Justice of the United States

The National Abortion Federation is extremely concerned that the Senate Judiciary Committee has accepted John Roberts' nomination to be the next Chief Justice of the United States. Even though John Roberts failed to adequately answer questions about Roe v. Wade, the constitutional right to privacy and other matters, the Judiciary Committee has passed Roberts' nomination to the Senate floor.

"The Judiciary Committee put politics ahead of protecting women's lives and health when they passed John Roberts' nomination on to the full Senate," said Vicki Saporta, President and CEO of the National Abortion Federation. "We are urging Senators to take a closer look at John Roberts and to recognize that his confirmation could mean fewer freedoms for Americans and the inability of women to continue to make their own personal, private health care decisions."

In the hearings, Roberts did not explain his judicial philosophy on privacy or women's reproductive freedom. While in a roundabout manner Roberts said that Roe was "settled law," the Supreme Court with Roberts as Chief Justice could overrule settled law. Roberts assured Senators that he followed the Roe v. Wade precedent as a lower court judge, but he was silent when Senators asked him whether or not he would uphold Roe as Chief Justice.

Roberts' weak assurances that he brings "no ideology" and "no agenda" to the court are similar to assurances made previously by other Supreme Court justices. Justices Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia, Bush's proclaimed model judges, similarly promised in their hearings to bring no agenda to the court. Those promises, however, did nothing to stop Thomas and Scalia from repeatedly voting against women's rights, women's reproductive freedom, and civil rights once they were confirmed.

"Roberts has failed to provide the American public with the information we need about his judicial philosophy on our fundamental rights," said Saporta. "The Bush administration still has not released all the relevant documents from Roberts' time as deputy solicitor general and the Senate failed to extract any real sense of Roberts' judicial philosophy on the right to privacy, protections against clinic violence, and Roe v. Wade. Roberts further did not disavow or distance himself from his previous arguments against women's reproductive freedom. We are therefore left with no choice but to believe Roberts' prior statements, where he said that Roe 'was wrongly decided and should be overruled.'"

"We need a Chief Justice who honors established precedent, including the right to privacy and Roe v. Wade," said Saporta. "Americans overwhelmingly believe that Roe should be upheld and will not tolerate retreating to the days when women had to sacrifice their lives and health to terminate an unwanted pregnancy. We urge Senators to vote against a nominee whose views are not shared by the majority of Americans."

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