View Full Version : Roberts Likely To Face Abortion Questions

07-19-2005, 08:57 PM
Roberts likely to face abortion questions


By GINA HOLLAND, Associated Press Writer
Posted: Tuesday July 19th, 2005, 5:42 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) - A likable lawyer who represented industries in cases at the Supreme Court before becoming an appeals court judge is President Bush's choice to fill his first high court vacancy.

John G. Roberts Jr., 50, who has been praised by conservatives and liberals, also has the shortest of track records to be attacked during the confirmation process.

Roberts has been on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit since June 2003, and was one of President Bush's least contentious picks for the bench.

If confirmed, he will return to the Supreme Court, where he clerked for Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist and successfully argued many cases, both for the government and as a private lawyer.

The biggest question mark may be his stand on abortion.

Abortion rights groups contend that he tried during his days as a lawyer in the first Bush administration to overturn Roe v. Wade. Roberts helped write a brief that stated "we continue to believe that Roe was wrongly decided and should be overruled."

Pressed during his 2003 confirmation hearing for the appeals court seat for his own views on the matter, Roberts said: "Roe v. Wade is the settled law of the land. ... There's nothing in my personal views that would prevent me from fully and faithfully applying that precedent."

Roberts was associate counsel to President Reagan from 1982-86 and then served in the first Bush administration, arguing cases before the Supreme Court from 1989-93.

As a private lawyer, the Buffalo, N.Y., native represented clients like carmaker Toyota at the Supreme Court in winning limits on disabled workers' claims.

"He has a friendly, down-to-earth demeanor that puts others at ease and fosters consensus," said Gregory Garre, a Washington lawyer and former colleague.

More than 140 members of the D.C. Bar, including officials from the Clinton administration, signed a letter urging his appeals court confirmation. The letter stated: "He is one of the very best and most highly respected appellate lawyers in the nation, with a deserved reputation as a brilliant writer and oral advocate. He is also a wonderful professional colleague both because of his enormous skills and because of his unquestioned integrity and fair-mindedness."