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9/05/2005

AFL-CIO: Roberts’ ‘Troubling’ Record Demands Extensive Questioning of Chief Justice Nominee

Source: AFL-CIO

Judge John Roberts, President George Bush’s nominee for chief justice of the Supreme Court, must undergo “vigorous and extensive” questioning by the Senate Judiciary Committee to ascertain his views on fundamental rights, according to AFL-CIO President John Sweeney.

In a Sept. 2 letter to committee Chair Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) and ranking Democrat Patrick Leahy (Vt.), Sweeney called for a “deliberate, methodical and complete inquiry” into Roberts' thinking on workers' rights and civil rights.

Sweeney based “grave concerns” about Roberts' judicial philosophy and commitment to equal rights, in part, on his urging the Reagan administration to oppose strengthening the Voting Rights Act and Fair Housing Act, criticism of a Supreme Court ruling that public education cannot be eliminated for children of undocumented immigrants, defense of a narrow Supreme Court decision denying the right to recover unpaid overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act and his opinion that equal protection under law should not be enforced if it costs a defendant significantly. Sweeney also cited “troubling” views on state-sponsored gender discrimination.

Bush’s nomination of the conservative Roberts to become an associate justice, replacing moderate Sandra Day O'Connor, raised widespread concern—concern that has been amplified since Bush announced he will push for Roberts to be named chief justice following the death Sept. 4 of Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist.

Read AFL-CIO President John Sweeney's letter to Sens. Arlen Specter and Patrick Leahy.

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