- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 11, 2005

Federal Judge John G. Roberts Jr. has never shied away from expressing his opinions, even those aimed in the direction of legislators who now must decide the fate of his nomination to the Supreme Court.

Judge Roberts has criticized a range of issues of deep importance to several lawmakers — some of whom sit on the Senate Judiciary Committee or are in otherwise crucial positions to block his confirmation.

In a 1981 memo, for instance, Judge Roberts lamented to other lawyers in the Reagan administration that Democrats and Republicans alike did not understand why he thought it was such a bad idea to expand the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

“My own view is that something must be done to educate the senators on the seriousness of this problem,” he wrote.

The primary sponsors of the proposal to expand the Voting Rights Act to include even unintentional discrimination at the polls were Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, Massachusetts Democrat, and Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr., Delaware Democrat — both now senior members of the Judiciary Committee.

In a 1982 memo to Attorney General William French Smith, Judge Roberts called Mr. Kennedy and Mr. Biden’s proposal “a radical change in the law, severing the statute from its constitutional moorings, and creating grave uncertainty in its application.”

He added, “In essence, it would establish a quota system for electoral politics, a notion we believe is fundamentally inconsistent with democratic principles.”

As a Reagan administration lawyer, Judge Roberts also fought another of Mr. Kennedy’s signature pieces of legislation — the 1972 Title IX education amendment aimed at banning sex discrimination in schools. Mr. Kennedy said Title IX applied to all aspects of an institution that got federal money, but conservatives argued that it applied only to the specific program within the institution that got federal money.

“Under Title IX,” Judge Roberts wrote in a 1982 memo, “federal investigators cannot rummage willy-nilly through institutions, but can only go as far as the federal funds go.”

Judge Roberts didn’t reserve his fire only for Democrats; he has insulted some of the Senate’s most significant Republicans.

In a 1983 memo, Judge Roberts dismissed an anti-crime proposal by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter, Pennsylvania Republican, as “the epitome of the ‘throw money at the problem’ approach repeatedly rejected by administration spokesmen.”

One of Judge Roberts’ sharpest attacks was a 1984 memo about Sen. Olympia J. Snowe, Maine Republican who was then in the House of Representatives. Mrs. Snowe and several other Republican women had endorsed a plan embodying the concept of “comparable worth” that would give government the authority to regulate salaries so that women would earn as much as men.

“I honestly find it troubling that three Republican representatives are so quick to embrace such a radical redistributive concept,” he wrote, comparing it to the Communist Manifesto. “Their slogan may as well be ‘From each according to his ability, to each according to her gender.’”

In another memo, Judge Roberts wrote, “It is difficult to exaggerate the perniciousness of the ‘comparable worth’ theory. It mandates nothing less than central planning of the economy by judges.”

Mrs. Snowe, now one of the “Gang of 14” senators who struck a deal earlier this year on some judicial nominations, has not said how she will vote on his nomination.

“Hopefully, 21 years later, Judge Roberts possesses an openness with respect to issues of gender-based wage discrimination,” she said earlier this month. “I will continue to carefully and rigorously evaluate his views and 26-year record on such critical matters.”

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