- The Washington Times - Friday, August 19, 2005

Judge John G. Roberts Jr. derided feminist proposals on wages and affirmative action in Reagan-era documents made public yesterday, criticizing the then-fashionable concept of “comparable worth” as “staggeringly pernicious.”

As a young White House lawyer, Judge Roberts also expressed support for a national ID card in 1983, saying it would help counter the “real threat to our social fabric posed by uncontrolled immigration.”

In words that may resurface — however humorously — at his confirmation hearing, he criticized a crime bill by Sen. Arlen Specter as “the epitome of the ‘throw money at the problem’ ” approach.

Mr. Specter, Pennsylvania Republican and current chairman of the Judiciary Committee, will preside at Judge Roberts’ confirmation hearings, scheduled to begin Sept. 6.

In a memo drafted Jan. 17, 1983, Judge Roberts reviewed a report that summarized state efforts on women in the workplace.

“Many of the reported proposals and efforts are themselves highly objectionable,” he wrote to White House Counsel Fred Fielding.

As an example, Judge Roberts said a California program “points to passage of a law requiring the order of layoffs to reflect affirmative action programs and not merely seniority.”

He referred to a “staggeringly pernicious law codifying the anti-capitalist notion of ‘comparable worth’ (as opposed to market value) pay scales,” in which the state would decide the “worth” of a job to society and force employers to pay the same wages for jobs of the same “worth.”

In a third case, Judge Roberts said a Florida section “cites a (presumably unconstitutional) proposal to charge women less tuition at state schools, because they have less earning potential.”

On immigration, he wrote Mr. Fielding in October 1983 that he did not share his opposition to a national ID card.

Separately, anticipating a presidential interview with Spanish Today, he wrote: “I think this audience would be pleased that we are trying to grant legal status to their illegal amigos.”

The documents, released simultaneously in Washington and at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California, completed the disclosure of more than 50,000 pages that cover Judge Roberts’ tenure as a lawyer in the White House Counsel’s Office from 1982 to 1986.

Nearly 2,000 more pages from that period have been withheld on grounds of national security or privacy.

Additionally, over the persistent protests of Senate Democrats, the White House has refused to make available any of the records covering Judge Roberts’ early-1990s tenure as principal deputy solicitor general during the administration of the first President Bush.

The Reagan-era material generally confirms the image of Judge Roberts as a young lawyer whose views on abortion, affirmative action, school prayer and other social issues were in harmony with the conservative president he served.

Democrats say they will question Judge Roberts closely on those subjects and others at the hearings. And despite the apparently long odds against them, liberal groups are beginning to mount an attempt to defeat his nomination.

Emily’s List drew attention during the day to a recent speech by Sen. Barbara Boxer, California Democrat, in which she raised the possibility of a filibuster if Judge Roberts didn’t elaborate on his views on abortion and privacy rights at the hearings.

“I have the ultimate step,” Mrs. Boxer said. “I can use all the parliamentary rules I have as a senator to stand up and fight for you.”

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