Today on Capitol Hill, John G. Roberts appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee and offered Senators and the American people assurances that he was a nominee with "no agenda" and if confirmed, would decide cases with an "open mind."
If all of this sounds eerily familiar, it may be because it is not the first time a Supreme Court nominee has offered comforting buzz words which later proved to be empty promises to the Senate.
Today, in his opening statement before the Judiciary committee, Roberts stated:
"Mr. Chairman, I come before the committee with no agenda."
"I have no platform."
"Judges are not politicians who can promise to do certain things in exchange for votes."
"I have no agenda, but I do have a commitment."
"If I am confirmed, I will confront every case with an open mind."
"I will fully and fairly analyze the legal arguments that are presented."
"I will be open to the considered views of my colleagues on the bench. And I will decide every case based on the record, according to the rule of law, without fear or favor, to the best of my ability."
At his confirmation hearings, Clarence Thomas offered similar assurances to the American public and the Senate. Thomas stated,
"A judge must be fair and impartial. A judge must not bring to his job, to the Court, the baggage of preconceived notions, of ideology, and certainly not an agenda."
"If confirmed by the Senate, I pledge that I will preserve and protect our Constitution and carry with me the values of my heritage, fairness, integrity, open mindedness, honesty and hard work."
Antonin Scalia, in an answer to a question from Senator Kennedy in his confirmation hearings, stated,
"I assure you I have no agenda. I am not going onto the Supreme Court with a list of things I want to do. My only agenda is to be a good judge."
The Senate must not be fooled again. Too much is at stake for women and people of color. Roberts' record indicates he would greatly weaken anti-discrimination statutes in employment and education; lower the standard for constitutional protection against sex discrimination under the Equal Protection Clause; ignore wage discrimination; gut Title IX; water down voting rights; cut back affirmative action; eliminate the right to privacy (which he has mocked); and reverse Roe v. Wade.
Eleanor Smeal is the president of the Feminist Majority, a national cutting-edge advocacy organization dedicated to advancing women's equality, which opposes Roberts' confirmation to be Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
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. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .