John Roberts' Record
Roberts argued that Congress could pass a law
preventing all federal courts from ordering busing to achieve school
desegregation under any circumstances, a position even
more extreme that that advanced by Theodore Olson and adopted by the Reagan
Access to Justice
Roberts argued that Congress should strip the Supreme
Court of the authority to rule on cases regarding school prayer, abortion,
busing for school desegregation, and other issues, a position even more
extreme that that advanced by Theodore Olson and adopted by the Reagan
Roberts argued that affirmative action programs were
bound to fail because they required “the recruiting of inadequately prepared
Roberts helped promote the Reagan administration’s
efforts to severely limit the circumstances under which minorities could
bring suit under the Voting Rights Act.
Roberts criticized a Supreme Court ruling striking down
a Texas law that had allowed school districts to exclude children of
In a recently-decided case brought by a Guantanamo Bay
prisoner, Judge Roberts joined a ruling holding that the government could
try terrorism suspects without granting them basic due process protections.
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.
Roberts argued to narrow the reach of Title IX, the law
that prohibits sex discrimination in education programs that receive federal
Roberts argued that the Justice Department should not
intervene on behalf of female prisoners who were discriminated against in a
job-training program, contradicting even the views of extremely conservative
Civil Rights Division head, William Bradford Reynolds.
Rights of the Disabled
Roberts criticized as “judicial activism” a court’s
order requiring a sign-language interpreter for a hearing-impaired public
Rights of the Accused
Roberts sought to expand the ability of prosecutors and
police to question suspects out of the presence of their attorneys.
Roberts urged the Supreme
Court to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark decision granting women
the right to choose.
As a judge, Roberts authored
a dissent arguing that the Endangered Species Act may be unconstitutional as
applied in that case. Worse, this case indicated that he may subscribe to
the very dangerous new "federalist" views of limited congressional power to
protect the environment and the rights of individual Americans
As a judge, Roberts has shown
enormous deference to the executive and an expansive view of executive
power. In one case, for example, he would have gone farther than his
colleagues on the court and allowed the Bush Administration retroactively to
eliminate the jurisdiction of the federal courts to hear claims against Iraq
by American soldiers who had been tortured there as POWs during the Gulf
War, at a time when Iraq was considered a terrorist state.
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.