Judge Roberts and Playboy

by Steve Ray on August 17, 2005

Roberts and Playboy: More Unwelcome Surprises From Bush Nominee?


WASHINGTON, D.C., August 12, 2005 (LifeSiteNews.com) – More so than a man with passionate convictions, even be they contrary to their own, most hard and fast conservatives fear a man without apparent or firmly held convictions. And it seems that as the small bits of often seemingly inconsequential information about Judge John Roberts Jr.'s willingness to argue or help with morally dubious cases trickles out into the public consciousness, conservative fears about Roberts are growing.

Most special interest organizations, excepting far left extreme groups such as NARAL, have kept a judicious and thoughtful silence, suspending judgement about Roberts until sufficient information has been gathered. Last week, however, it was revealed that Roberts had donated time to a homosexual 'rights' activist group, prepping their representatives for oral arguments before the Supreme Court. By all accounts, many conservatives have been eager to forgive Roberts his temporary lapse from the dictates of the conservative credo. Others, however, have found it necessary to express their discomfiture with Roberts' reported lack of reservation, to assist with the case.

Howard Phillips of the Conservative Caucus and former presidential candidate for the Constitution Party, whose attitude so far towards Roberts can be described as skeptical but with a turn for the hopeful, last week issued a statement titled "Roberts' assistance to homosexual activists in key supreme court case should cause conservatives to withhold support pending further information." In his statement Phillips complained that by all accounts the new information indicated that "Judge Roberts apparently had no moral objection to using his skills to advance the homosexual agenda." He added that "It is another example of how Judge Roberts seems to go out of his way to pander to those on the Left who might otherwise oppose him."

"We do not need another Anthony Kennedy, Sandra Day O'Connor, or David Souter," said Phillips.

Now it has come to light, according to the conservative news source Human Events, that besides aiding in the case that homosexual activists have called the "single most important positive ruling in the history of the gay rights movement," Roberts also lent a hand in 1999 preparing Playboy representatives for oral arguments before the Supreme Court. Just like the homosexual case, the amount of time that Roberts dedicated to the case was minimal. "In the 3-and-a-half to 4 years we worked on that case, John may have devoted about a dozen hours at most," said Roberts' ex-colleague Corn-Revere.

In that case Playboy initiated and ultimately won a challenge to the 1996 ruling that required television stations broadcasting pornographic material to either scramble the signals or to restrict their broadcast to times when it was likely that children would be watching. The great irony in both of the cases is that the justice who Bush had frequently promised would be the model for future Supreme Court nominees, Antonin Scalia, was amongst the dissenting-often passionately so-judges. Having Scalia and Roberts pitted against one another, no matter how distantly, is cause for conservative uneasiness.

But in the similar fashion that the Los Angeles Times excused Roberts after reporting on his involvement in the gay 'rights' case, saying that his involvement was perfectly in tune with his non-ideological jurisprudence, Roberts' ex-colleague Revere explained "I never had a sense that John's work for any clients necessarily represented his own personal views…He was being a professional and he was helping out colleagues." He added, "Just like others in the firm, he was generally available for advice if something came up in his field."

And in fact many conservatives are seemingly willing to admit that Roberts may not prove nearly as great a disaster as Justice Souter, who conservative columnist Ann Coulter has been wont to compare him to. Most seem only to be concerned that Bush has once again taken the middle road instead of delivering on his promises to his constituents, and are pointing out that that is where the real tragedy of Roberts' nomination may ultimately lie. "[Bush] has given us a Supreme Court nomination that will placate no liberals and should please no conservatives," said Coulter in her July 20th column.

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