The White House released some of the papers of John Roberts, Bush's nominee to the Supreme Court, but refused to release papers from when Roberts was deputy solicitor general under the George Bush, Sr from 1989 to 1993. Those papers would include any memos written by Roberts when the first Bush Administration intervened in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, urging the Supreme Court to reverse Roe v. Wade. The eight Democratic members of the Senate Judiciary Committee sent a letter to President Bush urging him to release the rest of Roberts’ writings. “It is for the Senate and not the White House to decide what documents the Senate will need to fulfill its responsibilities in the confirmation process,” said Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), the ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, according to the NY Times.
The papers that have been released thus far are files that Roberts kept when he was special assistant to Attorney General William French Smith. These papers reveal that Roberts was for limiting racial integration via busing, and would narrow Title IX and affirmative action. For example, in a memo to the attorney general in August 1982, Roberts said he agreed with a decision by a federal district court that limited Title IX, the landmark 1972 law prohibiting sex discrimination in federally funded education. Roberts argued Title IX should only apply to specific programs receiving federal aid, not entire universities, according to the New York Times. This argument was used by the Reagan Administration in Grove City v. Bell a 1984 US Supreme Court decision that gutted Title IX (which was later reinstated with the Civil Rights Restoration Act of 1988).
Roberts has also been linked to the ultra-conservative Federalist Society. Although Roberts says he has no memory of belonging to that organization, his name is listed in the 1997-98 leadership directory as a member of the steering committee of its Washington chapter, according to the Washington Post. The document was given to the Post by Alfred Ross, president of the Institute for Democracy Studies (IDS). Other members of the Federalist Society, which does not release its membership lists to the public, include former Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork, former Christian Coalition president Donald Paul Hodel, Senator Orrin hatch (R-UT), and Edwin Meese, a trustee of the right-wing Scaife Foundation, according to IDS. IDS has been studying the Federalist Society, a right-wing law group that has been challenging the role of the American Bar Association. The White House had denied reports that Roberts was a member, and had even pressured news outlets to issue retractions.
8/31/2015 Chicago Activists Continue Hunger Strike to Save Predominately Black Public High School - Chicago residents have entered the second week of their hunger strike protesting the closure of Dyett High School, in the predominately African-American Bronzeville neighborhood located on the South Side of Chicago.
Parents and community members are calling on the Chicago Board of Education to keep Dyett - the only open-enrollment, neighborhood school in its area - open and accept a community plan to revitalize the school with a focus on science and green technology. . . .
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .