Monday, August 29, 2005

A conservative in his own write

The St. Petersburg Times, in an article titled Meet John Roberts, in his words details the conservative views of John Roberts as revealed in his own writings. The topics covered here range from political and social issues to sports to pop culture. While there is nothing groundbreaking here, there are some interesting quotes that give us a glimpse at his reasoning behind certain positions as well as his sense of humor.

On judicial activism:

In another 1981 memo, Roberts attacked "judicial activism," a term many conservatives use to criticize the abortion decision. He said everyone may like the idea of a right to privacy, but "that does not, however, mean that courts should discern such an abstraction in the Constitution" and use it to strike down laws.

On prayer at graduation ceremonies:

"Students were not compelled to attend the ceremony," the brief said, "and those who attended were not forced to participate in any religious activity."

On habeas corpus:

In a 1981 memo, he argued for restrictions of habeas corpus protections, which give accused criminals the right to challenge their imprisonment. "The current availability of federal habeas corpus, particularly for state prisoners, goes far to making a mockery of the entire criminal justice system," Roberts wrote.

He said it is rare "that the meritorious claim has anything to do with the petitioner's innocence."

On comparable worth:

When three Republican women in Congress urged the Reagan administration not to intervene in a case involving the comparable worth of female workers, Roberts scoffed at their ideas.

The three representatives wanted the administration to support better pay for women because on average they earned only 60 cents for every $1 earned by men. Roberts believed that would violate free-market principles.

"I honestly find it troubling that that three Republican representatives are so quick to embrace such a radical redistributive concept," he wrote in a 1984 memo. "Their slogan may as well be "From each according to his ability, to each according to her gender.' "

On Pete Rose:

In a 1985 memo, he said it would be inaccurate for Reagan to refer to Pete Rose as a "slugger." He said: "Rose is a singles hitter, whose lifetime "slugging average' of .415 is not even close to the minimum .500 required for listing" as a slugger.

On Michael Jackson:

"If one wants the youth of America and the world sashaying around in garish sequined costumes, hair dripping with pomade, body shot full of female hormones to prevent voice change, mono-gloved, well, then, I suppose "Michael,' as he is affectionately known in the trade, is in fact a good example. Quite apart from the problem of appearing to endorse Jackson's androgynous life style, a presidential award would be perceived as a shallow effort by the president to share in the constant publicity surrounding Jackson. . . . The whole episode would, in my view, be demeaning to the president."

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