September 20, 2005
Sen. Reid Says He'll Vote Against RobertsHillary? Joe? Anyone else want to show some spine?Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid said Tuesday he would oppose confirmation of Chief Justice-nominee John Roberts, questioning Roberts' commitment to civil rights and accusing the Bush administration of stonewalling requests for documents that might shed light on his views.
At the same time, Reid readily predicted Roberts will win Senate confirmation, coupling the forecast with a warning of sorts to President Bush as he considers candidates for a second vacancy on the Supreme Court. "No one should think that just automatically they're all going to be easy like this one," he said...
"This is a very close question for me. But I must resolve my doubts in favor of the American people whose rights would be in jeopardy if John Roberts turned out to be the wrong person for the job," he said.
Referring to publicly released memos that date to Robert's tenure as a Reagan administration lawyer, Reid said they showed the young attorney "played a significant role in shaping and advancing the Republican agenda to roll back civil rights protections."
"No one suggests that John Roberts was motivated by bigotry or animosity toward minorities or women," Reid added. "But these memos lead one to question whether he truly appreciated the history of the civil rights struggle. He wrote about discrimination as an abstract concept, not as a flesh and blood reality for countless of his fellow citizens."
Reid also said Roberts followed a "disingenuous strategy" at the confirmation hearings of suggesting that the views in the memos were not his own.
Democrats have tried without success to persuade the administration to release documents from Roberts' tenure as principal deputy solicitor general, a senior Justice Department job he held in the administration of the first President Bush.
"The failure of the White House to produce relevant documents is reason enough for any senator to oppose this nomination. The administration cannot treat the Senate with such disrespect without some consequences," Reid said.
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