Hispanics, Women Oppose Roberts

Posted September 21, 2005 at 5:57pm

The Congressional Hispanic Caucus and female Members of the House minority on Wednesday became the latest groups of Democratic lawmakers to oppose John Roberts’ nomination to be chief justice of the United States.

The 21-member CHC said it is opposing Roberts’ ascendance to the court because he failed to provide “a clear picture on his perspectives and attitudes toward issues that affect Hispanic Americans and other minorities.”

The female House Members, led by Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif) and Reps. Hilda Solis (Calif.) and Rosa DeLauro (Conn.), argued Roberts isn’t the right fit for the post because he “failed to reassure the country that he respects the right to privacy, women’s reproductive rights and civil rights.”

The Senate Judiciary Committee completed questioning of Roberts last week and is expected to advance his nomination to the Senate floor today. The Senate is expected to confirm his appointment, although many Democrats, including Minority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.), have said they will vote “no.”

The CHC’s and female Members’ announcements Wednesday come just one day after the 43-member Congressional Black Caucus formalized its opposition to the Roberts nomination.

Rep. Bob Menendez (N.J.), a member of the CHC and chairman of the Democratic Caucus, said Roberts simply did not provide adequate answers to the questioning about his civil rights background and views toward minorities and Hispanics. The CHC said it had particular concerns about Roberts’ record on the Voting Rights Act and courts of jurisdiction.

“This is a lifetime appointment to lead the most important court in the land,” Menendez said. “We’d be accepting him in the blind. That is too high a risk to take.”

As for the female Members, they said they feared a Supreme Court led by Roberts would “turn back the clock for American women.”

“Throughout his hearings, Judge Roberts refused to clarify his position on the right to privacy and women’s rights,” Solis said. “A qualified chief justice would respect the right to privacy. Since Judge Roberts has squandered his opportunity to let the American people know whether he respects the rights of women, I must oppose his nomination and hope that the Senate Judiciary Committee members follow suit.”