Advise and Consent

Do you have something to say about Dubya Bush’s nomination of Judge John Roberts Jr. as the replacement US Supreme Court Associate Justice? How about the Shrub’s apparently giving the middle-finger to half the nation by not selecting a consensus candidate for the job? By all means, share your thoughts via comments. But there are some important people with whom you need to share your view: your lawmakers and everyone you know.

Here is a brand-new action alert from People for the American Way:

Roberts Nomination Raises Red Flags
Tell the Senate to Do Its Duty — Don’t Rubber Stamp!

This evening, Bush nominated John Roberts to replace Justice Sandra Day O’Connor on the Supreme Court. The Radical Right has been chomping at the bit for weeks in anticipation of this announcement. The Senate must now stand up to the pressure to simply rubber-stamp the president’s pick.

Tell your senators to fulfill their constitutional obligation to advise and consent. Tell them to withhold support for Roberts’ nomination until they have all the facts about his troubling record.

Here are the facts: What we know about John Robert’s record as Deputy Solicitor General and as a judge shows a disturbing lack of concern for the fundamental civil and constitutional rights of all Americans. We deserve a justice who will protect our rights and freedoms. Serious questions must be addressed before Roberts’ nomination to the nation’s highest court can be evaluated properly. Some alarming aspects of Roberts’ record they must consider include:

  • Reproductive and Privacy Rights: Roberts urged the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade while arguing before the Court as Deputy Solicitor General in a case that did not even directly concern that issue. His brief plainly states that “Roe was wrongly decided and should be overruled.”

  • Separation of Church and State: Roberts argued against clear First Amendment protections for religious liberty and in favor of officially sponsored school prayer at graduation ceremonies before the Supreme Court, which rejected his argument.

  • Environmental Protections: As a judge, Roberts suggested in a dissent that the Endangered Species Act was unconstitutional as applied to a California development case.

  • Veteran Protections: Roberts argued American POWs tortured in Iraq during the Gulf War should not be able to utilize federal courts to pursue their claims.

  • Excessive Arrest Procedures: Roberts ruled against a 12-year old girl who was handcuffed, arrested and taken away by police for eating a single French fry on the D.C. Metro, even though an adult would only have gotten a paper citation in that situation.

The next 24 hours are crucial. Unless you and thousands of other activists speak out right away, the Bush administration may lock up the support of dozens of members before the confirmation process truly gets under way and before the American people have a chance to learn where Roberts stands.

At this critical moment, we need you to do more than just call or write your lawmakers. We need you to do both, and to get your friends to do the same.

Your senators need to hear from you today–there must not be a rush to confirm John Roberts until all the facts are in! Call and write your senators to demand that they fulfill their constitutional obligations of advise and consent — our rights hang in the balance!

Save the court!

Need more reasons to take action? Don’t forget that GLBT equality under law — which does not exist — is a huge issue of contention within the US. The Human Rights Campaign has some thoughts you ought to consider when thinking about the possibility of having John Roberts Jr. on the nation’s highest court:

Knowing he was on [Bush]’s “short list” of potential nominees, HRC has already conducted a preliminary review of his record. We have serious concerns about his judicial philosophy regarding the constitutional right to privacy and legal protections for GLBT Americans. And while he has no paper trail on GLBT issues that does not mean that he is supportive. His views on legal protections for our community must be examined in Senate hearings. Now that his nomination is official, we’re digging more deeply to learn where Judge Roberts stands specifically on GLBT and other civil-rights issues.

George Bush has already made more than 200 appointments to the federal bench. It’s highly unlikely that Judge Roberts will be the first with a record of support for GLBT rights or a woman’s right to choose. For example, would he have voted with the majority to strike down anti-gay sodomy laws in America? Or to declare Colorado’s anti-gay Amendment 2 unconstitutional? Neither Clarence Thomas nor Antonin Scalia did — and that’s the kind of appointment Bush promised to make to the Supreme Court. As you know, there is no more important decision for protecting the rights and freedoms of every American than choosing a Supreme Court Justice. The Supreme Court will have the LAST WORD on the constitutionality of marriage for same-sex couples in America; the LAST WORD on the constitutionality of GLBT-inclusive hate crimes laws; the LAST WORD on whether GLBT Americans can serve openly in our military. Their decisions affect all Americans and all of us must stand together now to fight for a fair and balanced Supreme Court.

The stakes are enormously high — and the fear is real and justified. Please, please take action now, and encourage those you know to do the same.

Click here to get senators’ office phone numbers, snail-mail addresses, and e-mail addresses. Contact them by all three methods — and do it now!

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