September 13, 2005
Mistique Cano 202-904-7222 (cl)
More on John Roberts
Save Our Courts website
"For the job of chief justice, John Roberts must step up to the plate and answer questions about his commitment to protecting the rights, freedoms and liberties of all Americans. His record is filled with deeply troubling views on civil rights, voting rights, gender discrimination, and other vital issues. Although the Bush White House has done its best to keep his record hidden, it is clear that Roberts has a lot to answer for." -
Wade Henderson, executive director of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, the nation's oldest, largest, and most diverse civil and human rights coalition.
- What has he said about protecting voting rights? Roberts warned that Voting Rights Act violations "should not be made too easy to prove." Memorandum from John Roberts to the Attorney General (Dec. 22, 1981).
- What has he said about equal opportunity? Roberts argued that the Justice Department need not abide by settled affirmative action law (United Steelworkers v. Weber) because the Court's decision "has only four supporters on the current Supreme Court," and that as a result the Justice Department will "not accept it as the guiding principle in this area." Emphasis in original, memorandum from John Roberts to Attorney General (Dec. 2, 1981).
- What has he said about sex discrimination? In response to a state-by-state evaluation of sex discrimination by then-Transportation Secretary Elizabeth Dole, Roberts dismissed the findings as "perceived problems of gender discrimination." Memorandum from John G. Roberts to Fred. F. Fielding (Jan. 17, 1983). In another memo on sex discrimination, Roberts rejected "the canard that women are discriminated against because they receive $0.59 to every $1.00 earned by men." Memorandum from John Roberts to Fred F. Fielding (Oct. 4, 1984).
- What has he said about Title IX? Roberts wrote that "Under Title IX, federal investigators cannot rummage willy-nilly through institutions, but can only go as far as the federal funds go," suggesting that sex discrimination is acceptable in federally funded institutions as long as the discrimination does not happen in a specific program that receives earmarked funds. Memorandum from John Roberts to the Attorney General (Aug. 31, 1982).
- What has he said about job discrimination? Roberts argued that it would be acceptable for a school board to employ a "blanket policy for rejecting all blacks simply because they were black," without "giv[ing] rise to a claim for relief under VII" unless the rejected applicants could prove they were "more qualified" and that they "would have been hired, but for prohibited discrimination" - even though the law said otherwise. Memorandum from John Roberts to William Bradford Reynolds (Oct. 26, 1981).
- Where does he stand on fair housing? Roberts urged the White House to slow down its efforts to enact fair housing legislation, even though the administration had been heavily criticized for moving too slowly on another civil rights bill the year before, because "the fact that we were burned last year because we did not sail in with new voting rights legislation does not mean we will be hurt this year if we go slowly on housing legislation." Memorandum from John Roberts to Fred F. Fielding (Jan. 31, 1983).