To hear the National Organization for Women, American Prospect and other far lefties describe him, you’d think John Roberts, the President’s first nominee for a Supreme Court vacancy, would be a disaster for women’s well-being. For the left, Roberts’ “women problem” is a given. He is a conservative, therefore, he wants to keep women barefoot and pregnant out of the House and in the kitchen! No question to them: John Roberts is women’s worst nightmare.
I discovered long ago that liberals are just that closed-minded. They admit that Roberts is a man of integrity, a person with a good sense of humor and a first-class lawyer. But he has conservative views; therefore, he is bad for women. He described affirmative action as “staggeringly pernicious” because it required employers to pay women the same as men when they were employed in jobs that had “comparable worth.” Horror of horrors, Roberts argued that people in the workplace should be hired, promoted or fired on the basis of merit instead of affirmative action programs. He also opposed both Title IX and the Violence against Women Act (VAWA). In fact, he was against any “have-government-throw-money-at-the-problem” approach to solving problems.
He was also against “busing” and the other legislative initiatives that were products of special-interest-group liberalism. He doesn’t think that free speech extends to flag burning. He thinks that freedom of religion includes prayer in public schools and religious ceremonies at graduations. Good grief, he is even against blatant and reckless expansion of the Endangered Species Act how dangerous can you get!
His wife is a leader in a “fringe” organization, “Feminists for Life.” He is an observant Catholic and assumedly pro-life. (Liberal Catholics are good; conservative Catholics are not.) A brief he filed on behalf of President George H.W. Bush’s administration stated that Roe was “wrongly decided.” This is a “scary record,” indeed! And, according to the so-called “women’s rights” groups, these views are proof-positive that Roberts is anti-women. Also, the Left is apoplectic over Roberts’ affiliation with a conservative legal organization that opposes big government. Just who is it that has a litmus test?
The venerable Washington Post even weighed in with a heavy indictment: Judge Roberts “consistently opposed legal and legislative attempts to strengthen women’s rights during his years as a legal adviser in the Reagan White House, disparaging what he called the ‘purported gender gap’ and, at one point, questioning ‘whether encouraging homemakers to become lawyers contributes to the common good.” The Chicago Tribune, too, is concerned. They claim that critics are worried that “women’s issues could be a pitfall for Roberts.” Even leftist Republicans like Olympia Snowe think that voting against comparable worth is “sexist.” If you are not worried, The Philadelphia Inquirer thinks perhaps you don’t understand the problem; you are just blind “sheep” with a “government-knows-best” mindset.
The Web site Supreme Court Watch has as its subtitle, “democracy in the balance,” which gives a preview of its political stance. Its article, “John Roberts’ Record Raises Serious Concerns,” asserts that Roberts’ supports “weakening women’s rights and civil rights laws, cutting back the vital role of our courts in enforcing legal protections and restricting the ability of the people’s elected representatives in Congress to enact crucial worker, civil rights and environmental safeguards.” Again, they offer no evidence, no proof; just fiery, unsubstantiated assertions conservatives are suspect.
The far-left blogosphere is even worse. Anti-choice is not just about abortion. “This administration,” according to one extreme-left blog, has “obvious animosity toward women.” (No examples, of course; just a bald assertion.) “These people,” the blog concludes, “are really strange, f—– up folk who value gals only for boobs and breeding.” Now that is really in-depth analysis, folks; now there’s an example of logical reasoning, solid evidence and articulate expression of ideas.
Sadly, too many feminists want to have it both ways: They want to have special consideration as women (affirmative action programs, quotas, Title IX, etc.) while maintaining that they are independent, just as capable as men and earn respect on their merits. They want to enter the military and get all the privileges accorded to our fighting forces, but have the requirements adjusted for gender. They want to do the jobs that interest them and be paid the same as those jobs that require greater risk or more specialized training. They want to have the freedom to work part-time, take off time to have children, or work flexible hours without any consequence to their paycheck or benefits employers should foot the bill for their choices and the federal government ought to pay for someone else to raise their children.
John Roberts is a first-class lawyer, a conservative and a strict constructionist when interpreting the Constitution. Fellow lawyers across the ideological spectrum praise his qualifications for the Supreme Court. He should be judged on whether he will fairly interpret the Constitution. I don’t want him to blindly endorse the so-called “women’s rights” agenda; most important for him to support are the human rights of all Americans and that includes the nation’s women.
Janice Shaw Crouse has written on women’s issues for over a decade most recently as senior fellow of Concerned Women for America’s Beverly LaHaye Institute.