Sun. Jan 16th, 2022

Because John Roberts has been nominated to serve as Chief Justice on the Supreme Court, he must respect existing laws and vow not to overturn present rulings, such as Roe V. Wade and Affirmative Action, or write legal opinions based on personal ideology.When President Bush first nominated Roberts to replace Justice Sandra Day O’Connor in July, he called Roberts “one of the best legal minds of his generation.”

President Bush went on to say that choosing a justice is “one of the most consequential decisions a president makes.”

The president’s opinion is correct. Because Roberts is only 50, he could potentially serve on the Supreme Court for decades, and his legal opinions will help dictate the laws of the country.

After Chief Justice William Rehnquist died, Roberts was elevated to the nomination for Chief Justice, a duty considerably even more important.

As a lawyer, Roberts has extensive experience. He served on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in 2003, and has argued 39 cases before the Supreme Court. The Harvard Law School graduate also clerked for Chief Justice Rehnquist and was a lawyer for the first Bush administration.

As a lawyer for the administration under George H.W. Bush, Roberts wrote some startling memos that indicated his ideology. Roberts wrote in a brief: “We continue to believe that Roe was wrongly decided and should be overruled.” When Roberts went through the Senate nomination process for the U.S. Court of Appeals in 2003, he said that he considers Roe V. Wade “the settled law of the land.”

However, the nomination of Roberts to the Supreme Court has alarmed many pro-choice groups. When Roberts was nominated in July to replace Justice O’Connor, members of Planned Parenthood protested in Washington, D.C., fearful that Roberts could tip the balance of the Supreme Court and overturn Roe V. Wade.

People for the American Way, another pro-choice progressive group, stated they were disappointed that Roberts was nominated for the Supreme Court. After his nomination, People for the American Way created a web site, www.savethecourt.org, which contains a lengthy review of Roberts’ judicial record.

Some of Roberts’ other legal opinions have also raised concern among progressive groups. While Roberts served on the D.C. Court of Appeals in 2003, he dissented against the Endangered Species Act, a law which protects endangered animals. A real estate company complained that the Endangered Species Act should not apply to their project, and Roberts sided with the company.

Roberts’ vote against the Endangered Species Act has drawn much concern from environmentalists that worry Roberts will not uphold environmental laws while on the Supreme Court. Roberts’ dissent against the Endangered Species Act may also outline part of his ideology. Since his nomination, it has been rumored that Roberts is a favorite of federalist organizations across the country.

Federalists want to limit Congress’ power and ability to protect the environment, rights of workers, and other rights.

It is still unclear where Roberts stands on several issues and how he will vote on the Supreme Court. To be a fair and honest Chief Justice, Roberts must respect existing laws and not allow his personal ideology or the ideologies of others to sway his votes and decisions.

As Chief Justice, Roberts will have the power to influence the direction of the country and interpret laws. With such power and responsibility, Roberts must vow not to be a conservative judicial activist seeking to roll back the progress gained over the last few decades by various movements.

Brian Fanelli is a senior majoring in comparative literature with minors in creative writing and journalism.

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