NCJW Opposes Nomination of John Roberts to DC Circuit Court of Appeals

February 11, 2003, Washington, DC -- The National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) has announced its opposition to the confirmation of John Roberts to a lifetime appointment as a judge on the DC Circuit Court of Appeals. NCJW President Marsha Atkind released the following statement concerning Mr. Roberts:

"As Principal Deputy Solicitor General from 1989-1993, Mr. Roberts not only failed to defend fundamental constitutional rights, including reproductive rights, but actively participated in efforts to curtail those rights.

"Mr. Robert's nomination is one in series intended to pack the court with judges sympathetic to an ideological agenda that includes overturning Roe v. Wade, without a thorough airing of their views. It is especially disturbing that despite the controversial nature of his nomination, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a joint hearing for Mr. Roberts with two other controversial judicial nominees, so that senators were unable to question him fully for the record.

"As Deputy Solicitor General in Rust v. Sullivan (1991), Mr. Roberts supported the gag rule imposed by the federal government, whereby doctors working in family planning programs receiving federal funds were barred from even discussing abortion options with patients. In the same brief, he argued gratuitously that Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided – a question not even posed in the case.

" In Lee v. Weisman (1992), Roberts also signed an amicus brief for the government arguing that the inclusion of religious ceremonies in public school graduations did not violate separation of religion and state.

"Nominees for such high judicial office should have a record defending fundamental rights, not eroding them. Mr. Roberts should not be confirmed for a lifetime appointment to the DC Circuit."

NCJW is a volunteer organization, inspired by Jewish values, that works to improve the quality of life for women, children and families and to ensure individual rights and freedoms through research, education, advocacy, and community service programs initiated by its network of 90,000 volunteers, supporters and members nationwide. It has launched BenchMark: NCJW's Campaign to Save Roe, a national effort to educate and mobilize NCJW members, the Jewish community, and friends and allies everywhere to promote a federal bench with judges that support fundamental freedoms, including a woman's right to choose.