Leahy: No Vote for Activist Nominee

Senator Patrick Leahy, Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, is worried about John Roberts’ stance on some issues. He’s also not all too happy with the conservatives that currently serve on the Supreme Court…

In an interview broadcast Tuesday on Vermont Public Radio’s “Switchboard” program, Leahy said he would vote against the appeals court judge if it seemed as if he would pursue an activist agenda on the court. In selecting Roberts, President Bush emphasized that he was looking for someone who would not legislate from the bench.

Leahy said he’s worried that Roberts might try to unravel matters that should be settled law.

Denouncing conservatives on the current court, the Vermont senator said in the interview: “They have struck down parts of the Violence Against Women Act, environmental acts, child safety legislation.”

“They’ve knocked down all these, basically writing the law themselves,” Leahy added. “I want to find out if he’s going to be as active as this — as people like Justice (Antonin) Scalia and Justice (Clarence) Thomas, who have almost willy-nilly overruled things.”

Leahy also said any Supreme Court nominee who doesn’t agree that Roe v. Wade is established legal precedent would have difficulty getting confirmed.

Listen to Leahy’s interview on VPR “Switchboard” here. (WMP only)

Amongst the Roberts’ papers released by the White House was a “a one-page paper in which the young Roberts reported that beginning “my first day on the job” he had been helping O’Connor prep for her own confirmation hearings to the high court.” That paper can be found here: http://wid.ap.org/documents/050726roberts.pdf

Senator Ted Kennedy is none too happy with the lack of transparency from the White House either.

“From what we know now, John Roberts had a hand in some of the most aggressive assaults on civil rights protections during the Reagan administration,” Sen. Edward M. Kennedy said.

Kennedy released a statement yesterday on the White House release of Roberts’ documents — read it here.

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