WASHINGTON - September 22 - Statement by Eleanor D. Acheson, Director of Public Policy and Government Affairs
"Earlier this week we were gratified by Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid's principled stand against the confirmation of Judge John Roberts as chief justice of the United States. We had hoped that Senator Reid's example would be followed by all Democrats on the Judiciary Committee -- and other Senators who care about civil rights and equal justice under the Constitution. Regrettably, only Senators Biden, Durbin, Feinstein, Kennedy, and Schumer followed Senator Reid's lead and voted to uphold the integrity of the Senate's constitutional advise and consent role.
Today's Judiciary Committee vote is beyond disappointing - it is astounding. The Bush administration refused to release key documents related to Judge Roberts' most important years of government service. Judge Roberts ducked, dodged and refused to answer dozens upon dozens of legitimate questions posed by committee members. Nonetheless, all Republicans and Ranking Minority Member Leahy and Democratic Senators Kohl and Feingold voted to support his confirmation.
The Senators voting for Judge Roberts were, at best, in Senator Biden's words, 'rolling the dice.' The critical issues at stake - civil rights, individual rights, the authority of Congress, and so many others - deserve far better than that.
We urge those Senators not yet committed on Judge Roberts appointment to consider anew and fully the rights of Americans at stake and the institutional implications for the Senate in this vote and to vote 'no' on this nomination."