Howard Dean's Verdict on John Roberts

Governor Dean came out full force against John Roberts today in an email to the grassroots, and sent everyone a preview of a nationwide op-ed that will run tomorrow.

Full text of both after the bump.

Email from Governor Dean to Democrats across the country:
Dear Fellow Democrat,

I've been watching Supreme Court nominee John Roberts artfully dodge question after question during his confirmation hearings. And I've read the limited documents the White House released about his work in the Reagan and George H. W. Bush administrations -- though we are still waiting for answers for the over 100,000 Americans who submitted Freedom of Information Act requests for key documents.

But we know enough to see a pattern -- and I've made up my mind about John Roberts. He's the wrong man at the wrong time for our country -- a trait that he shares with much of the Republican leadership, including the president who nominated him.

I've written an op-ed that will appear in newspapers across the country tomorrow (you can get a preview at the bottom of this message). But I am just one voice -- your community needs to hear from you. By filling local papers with letters to editors, Americans watching this process unfold will understand that we have a different vision for the court and a different vision for our country.

Join me on editorial pages across America by writing a letter to the editor -- with our new online tool and talking points, you can write and submit your letter in minutes:

http://www.democrats.org/robertsletters

John Roberts may have a sharp legal mind, but his record shows that he lacks a sense of justice.

The skills John Roberts displays are like those of White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove or House Republican Leader Tom DeLay. Both of those men have sharp political minds -- they are among the smartest in Washington. But they use those skills to push a narrow ideology and win at any cost. Roberts has spent a career using the law to protect corporate interests and roll back the rights that protect us all.

Roberts, Rove, DeLay and the rest of the extremist Republican leadership all have the same problem. They abuse their power by pursuing ideological crusades -- and they ignore the real problems we face as a country and as a community.

Thousands of letters appearing in papers across the country will reach every American with our message -- that the time for narrow ideology and protecting the rights of only a few is over. Write a letter to the editor now:

http://www.democrats.org/robertsletters

In the wake of Hurricane Katrina and the disastrous response, we have seen the consequences of government by ideologues and political cronies.

We have also seen the stark reality of American life that people like Roberts, Rove and DeLay either don't understand or choose to ignore -- that inequalities still persist to this day.

Our rights -- and the rights of the most vulnerable in our society -- are in danger. They are in danger from those who actively seek to roll them back, and they are in danger from those in positions of leadership who don't understand how important it is to protect the rights of every American.

The ultimate battleground for justice, fairness and opportunity in America has always been the Supreme Court. Justices have the power to use the law to hold America back, and they have the power to use the law to hold America to the high moral standards we set for ourselves.

Let's make sure that Americans open their newspapers and understand the

stakes:

http://www.democrats.org/robertsletters

Thank you.

Governor Howard Dean, M.D.

P.S. -- You can get a sneak preview of my op-ed before it appears in papers across the country: http://www.democrats.org/robertscolumn

Here's the full text of that column:

The Verdict on John Roberts

By Governor Howard Dean, M.D.

John Roberts is a decent family man and a bright, articulate, thoughtful judge. He has a quality absent in previous right wing candidates like Antonin Scalia and Robert Bork, namely a judicial temperament that makes litigants feel that they have been respectfully heard whether they are on the winning or losing side of a verdict.

But John Roberts is the wrong man for the job. Despite the fact that the White House has withheld key documents either out of incompetence or a fear that those documents might prove embarrassing, we have learned enough from the files on Roberts at the Reagan Library to make it clear that he should be rejected.

This conclusion has only been solidified by Roberts' testimony during this week's hearings. He has been a polished performer, but in failing to present clear answers to straightforward questions, Roberts missed a crucial opportunity to answer legitimate concerns about his record and show compassion for those who have been excluded from the American Dream. The consistent mark of Roberts' career is a lack of commitment to making the Constitution's promise of equal protection a reality for all Americans, particularly the most vulnerable in our society.

He has opposed laws protecting the rights of girls and young women to have the same opportunities in sports as boys and young men. He has argued that politicians, not individual women themselves, ought to control women's reproductive health care. He has opposed various remedies for the racial injustices which have occurred in America since slavery and which persist today. He has consistently joined the radical right in seeking to weaken voting rights protections, in essence attacking the rights of black and Hispanic voters to cast their ballot without paying poll taxes or being subjected to intimidation or gerrymandering. He fought against protecting all Americans from workplace discrimination. Most worrisome, he refused to answer questions on his limited view of the right to personal privacy that most Americans take for granted.

Over the last half century, we have made great progress in promoting equal opportunity for all Americans, but there is still much work to be done. Hurricane Katrina was more than the most catastrophic natural disaster in American history. Those who have in so many ways been denied the opportunity for full participation in our society once again suffered disproportionately in this tragedy--seniors, African-Americans and those burdened by poverty.

Now is not the time for a Chief Justice who is bent on turning back the progress we have made in moving America forward.

Judge Roberts is said to love the law, but loving the law without loving the American people enough to protect their individual rights and freedoms will make our American community weaker. And the exercise of the law without compassion--something that Judge Roberts and so many on the far right have consistently been guilty of--undermines the grace and wisdom of the founders whose sense of balance and fairness made this country great.

In the past few weeks we have seen what happens when politics and indifference supercede compassion and organization. The enduring lesson of Hurricane Katrina is that there still are too many Americans who are disproportionately vulnerable. Despite the fact that they worked hard and played by the rules, their luck ran out. Americans are a compassionate, fair-minded people. Our nation is great and strong because of that compassion, not just because we have a strong military. We also have strong moral values which include an innate sense of justice often absent in many other parts of the world.

Our Government today shrinks from compassion. In doing so they have first diminished America in the eyes of the rest of the world, and now they have diminished America in the eyes of our own people. This is a time for justice tempered with mercy and understanding. There is no evidence of either in Judge Roberts's career. The President should be denied this nomination.

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Comments

14 Comments

Thanks Howard!
by HE 2005-09-15 12:35PM | 0 recs
This Just Confirms My Opinion That...
The Roberts objectors really need to stage a filibuster if it looks like the Senate will confirm him.
by blues 2005-09-15 03:21PM | 0 recs
Re: This Just Confirms My Opinion That...
Yeah... do the filibuster and force the traitors to show their colors in a cloture vote.

Then slam them in the primaries with it.  This is the election to weed out the DINOs

by teknofyl 2005-09-16 02:56PM | 0 recs
Dubious Strategy
Some won't be happy until the party is down to about 36 Senators who always vote right, even if they're never in the majority.
by SLinVA 2005-09-16 06:27PM | 0 recs
Re: Dubious Strategy
Kerry went along with the war authorization bill. That really made him look like a tough guy, didn't it?

Know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em, know when to hold run. But for God's sake, don't hide under the damn table when running for office!

by blues 2005-09-17 02:56AM | 0 recs
Re: Dubious Strategy
And some would be just fine with 51 Democrats who are indistinguishable from Republicans.
by teknofyl 2005-09-17 07:38AM | 0 recs
That Howard Dean
That Howard Dean is such a negative Nancy. Doesn't he know the way to win back power is by caving in to the Republicans' every whim and rolling over with each new, more heinous appointee the murderer-in-chief plops in front of them? This is sure to get Dean labelled, "rude," and I for one feel he deserves the label. Only republicans, with their moral Christian superiority, should be allowed to point out the shortcomings of others. For Dean to call Roberts the "wrong man at the wrong time" is an outrage. Dean, not even a DLC member, let alone a Republican, thinks he has the right to comment on government proceedings? I expect Joe Biden to issue a statement shortly putting Dean back in his place, or I will be greatly disappointed.
by peterbernard 2005-09-16 03:37AM | 0 recs
Don't tell this to some Dems
It appears that the Dems threw in the towel well before the confirmation hearings begin.  Because Evan Bayhs and Joseph Liebermans, and the Hillary Clintons has already apparently endorsed Roberts, and they already, the Republicans have enough votes to cut off debates.  With those three already apparently cutting off debate, others will follow, like the Kent Conrads, and Mark Pryors, and the Jeff Bingamans, will fall into the endorsement of Roberts too.  So, Dean's email is dead on arrival, and it is useless now.  The email should now be sent to Feingold supporters because he appears to be one of few to not endorse Roberts for his presidential run in 2008.
by mleflo2 2005-09-16 07:03AM | 0 recs
Re: Don't tell this to some Dems
Right, so Dean is set up to look like the spoil sport, can't get along, wild, out of control, against everything, pinko, granola, eatin', out of touch, angry, uncompromising organizer of the Democratic Party. You know, the unelectable wing that actually is working to try and save democracy while the "moderate/DLC" crew works with the Republicans just in case they get a turn at the White House to represent the same corporate interests that the Republicans love so.

I hope there is some resistance from the "rebels."

(is that snark?)

by HE 2005-09-16 11:43AM | 0 recs
I'm Heartened That Roberts Believes In Privacy
He doesn't think we have any right to know what he thinks.
by Paul Rosenberg 2005-09-16 07:25AM | 0 recs
re
of course roberts shouldn't be confirmed.  but the real filibuster-fight and the real seat that is more at stake will be o'connor's replacement.  
by Ann Driscoll 2005-09-16 01:15PM | 0 recs
No
The real fight is here and now.  No more ceding ground, supposedly marshalling our forces.

Force it now.  Bush is reeling from a horrible 9 months.  Of course Rove et al will accuse of partisanship, etc.  They would no matter what.

We need to put this loser out of his misery.

by teknofyl 2005-09-16 03:00PM | 0 recs
If Not Now, When??? n/t
by blues 2005-09-17 04:01AM | 0 recs
Re: re
Why not?
by Classical Liberal 2005-09-17 08:44AM | 0 recs

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