July 27, 2005


Files Highlight Legal Stances of a Nominee (DAVID E. ROSENBAUM, 7/27/05, NY Times)

As a young lawyer in the Justice Department at the beginning of Ronald Reagan's presidency, John G. Roberts advocated judicial restraint on the issues of the day, many of which are still topical, documents released Tuesday by the National Archives show.

He defended, for instance, the constitutionality of proposed legislation to restrict the ability of federal courts to order busing to desegregate schools.

On other civil rights issues, he encouraged a cautious approach by courts and federal agencies in enforcing laws against discrimination.

Judge Roberts, now on the federal court of appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, also argued that Congress had the constitutional power "to divest the lower federal courts of jurisdiction over school prayer cases."

In another memorandum, he maintained that the Supreme Court, to which he is now nominated, overreached when it denied states the authority to impose residency requirements for welfare recipients.

This was an example, he wrote, of the court's tendency to find fundamental rights, like the right to travel between states, for which there was no explicit basis in the Constitution. "It's that very attitude which we are trying to resist," he wrote.

Indeed, the Court's invention of rights for which there's no basis in the Constitution is all that remains of the liberal epoch.

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 27, 2005 12:00 AM

"...all that remains..."?

I guess if you exclude 40 hour work weeks and equal rights for blacks and women, it isn't hard to come to that conclusion.

Posted by: Brandon at July 27, 2005 9:56 AM

Brandon: Is it really your contention that without liberals Americans would be working more hours?

Posted by: David Cohen at July 27, 2005 12:39 PM