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SEPTEMBER 29, 2005
2:07 PM

CONTACT: National Organization for Women
Lisa Bennett, 202-628-8669, ext. 123; cell 202-641-1906

NOW Denounces Roberts Confirmation, Looks to Next Battle
Women, Activists Remind 78 Senators Who Voted to Confirm Roberts:
"Women Will Remember"


WASHINGTON - September 29 -


Only 22 senators had the courage to stand up for women's rights when it mattered. NOW applauds those senators who voted to reject this dangerous nominee, and it is unfortunate that the courageous actions of a few are overshadowed by the fall-in-line politics of so many more.

In a full Senate vote of 78-22, John G. Roberts was confirmed Thursday morning to become the next Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. At the helm of the court, Roberts will soon hear cases about women's reproductive rights, privacy issues, equal education opportunities and a host of other issues that are at the heart of women's equality in this country.

"Republican senators, more worried about the political intimidation of Karl Rove and Pat Robertson than about women's rights and civil rights, voted in lockstep for Roberts. Unfortunately, some Democratic senators also voted for a nominee who refused to answer questions about our most basic rights," said NOW President Kim Gandy. "We thank those senators who withstood the pressure from the Bush administration and voted 'no' on behalf of the women of this country. Women will remember their commitment to our rights."

Throughout the confirmation hearings, Roberts bobbed and weaved, evading question after question from senators whose responsibility was to determine Roberts' qualifications and judicial philosophy. With so few answers, a vote to confirm was a vote that ignored the palpable threat to women and people of color and disenfranchised groups everywhere — a vote that will long be remembered.

The fight goes on. The next nomination will be to replace swing-vote Sandra Day O'Connor, and women will be ready. George Bush has an opportunity to replace the first female justice with a woman who will act judiciously and not dismantle our fundamental rights.

"If Bush chooses a nominee whose only intention is to scale back the rights we have fought decades to win, we are prepared for a battle royal. Bring it on," said Gandy. "In the end, a line will be drawn between the senators who vote based on personal conscience, and the senators who vote based on political calculus."

And on Nov. 7, 2006, and beyond, it will be women's turn to vote.


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