Full text of both after the bump.
Dear Fellow Democrat,
I've been watching Supreme Court nominee John Roberts artfully dodge question after question during his confirmation hearings. And I've read the limited documents the White House released about his work in the Reagan and George H. W. Bush administrations -- though we are still waiting for answers for the over 100,000 Americans who submitted Freedom of Information Act requests for key documents.
But we know enough to see a pattern -- and I've made up my mind about John Roberts. He's the wrong man at the wrong time for our country -- a trait that he shares with much of the Republican leadership, including the president who nominated him.
I've written an op-ed that will appear in newspapers across the country tomorrow (you can get a preview at the bottom of this message). But I am just one voice -- your community needs to hear from you. By filling local papers with letters to editors, Americans watching this process unfold will understand that we have a different vision for the court and a different vision for our country.
Join me on editorial pages across America by writing a letter to the editor -- with our new online tool and talking points, you can write and submit your letter in minutes:
John Roberts may have a sharp legal mind, but his record shows that he lacks a sense of justice.
The skills John Roberts displays are like those of White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove or House Republican Leader Tom DeLay. Both of those men have sharp political minds -- they are among the smartest in Washington. But they use those skills to push a narrow ideology and win at any cost. Roberts has spent a career using the law to protect corporate interests and roll back the rights that protect us all.
Roberts, Rove, DeLay and the rest of the extremist Republican leadership all have the same problem. They abuse their power by pursuing ideological crusades -- and they ignore the real problems we face as a country and as a community.
Thousands of letters appearing in papers across the country will reach every American with our message -- that the time for narrow ideology and protecting the rights of only a few is over. Write a letter to the editor now:
In the wake of Hurricane Katrina and the disastrous response, we have seen the consequences of government by ideologues and political cronies.
We have also seen the stark reality of American life that people like Roberts, Rove and DeLay either don't understand or choose to ignore -- that inequalities still persist to this day.
Our rights -- and the rights of the most vulnerable in our society -- are in danger. They are in danger from those who actively seek to roll them back, and they are in danger from those in positions of leadership who don't understand how important it is to protect the rights of every American.
The ultimate battleground for justice, fairness and opportunity in America has always been the Supreme Court. Justices have the power to use the law to hold America back, and they have the power to use the law to hold America to the high moral standards we set for ourselves.
Let's make sure that Americans open their newspapers and understand the
Governor Howard Dean, M.D.
P.S. -- You can get a sneak preview of my op-ed before it appears in papers across the country: http://www.democrats.org/robertscolumn
Here's the full text of that column:
The Verdict on John Roberts
By Governor Howard Dean, M.D.
John Roberts is a decent family man and a bright, articulate, thoughtful judge. He has a quality absent in previous right wing candidates like Antonin Scalia and Robert Bork, namely a judicial temperament that makes litigants feel that they have been respectfully heard whether they are on the winning or losing side of a verdict.
But John Roberts is the wrong man for the job. Despite the fact that the White House has withheld key documents either out of incompetence or a fear that those documents might prove embarrassing, we have learned enough from the files on Roberts at the Reagan Library to make it clear that he should be rejected.
This conclusion has only been solidified by Roberts' testimony during this week's hearings. He has been a polished performer, but in failing to present clear answers to straightforward questions, Roberts missed a crucial opportunity to answer legitimate concerns about his record and show compassion for those who have been excluded from the American Dream. The consistent mark of Roberts' career is a lack of commitment to making the Constitution's promise of equal protection a reality for all Americans, particularly the most vulnerable in our society.
He has opposed laws protecting the rights of girls and young women to have the same opportunities in sports as boys and young men. He has argued that politicians, not individual women themselves, ought to control women's reproductive health care. He has opposed various remedies for the racial injustices which have occurred in America since slavery and which persist today. He has consistently joined the radical right in seeking to weaken voting rights protections, in essence attacking the rights of black and Hispanic voters to cast their ballot without paying poll taxes or being subjected to intimidation or gerrymandering. He fought against protecting all Americans from workplace discrimination. Most worrisome, he refused to answer questions on his limited view of the right to personal privacy that most Americans take for granted.
Over the last half century, we have made great progress in promoting equal opportunity for all Americans, but there is still much work to be done. Hurricane Katrina was more than the most catastrophic natural disaster in American history. Those who have in so many ways been denied the opportunity for full participation in our society once again suffered disproportionately in this tragedy--seniors, African-Americans and those burdened by poverty.
Now is not the time for a Chief Justice who is bent on turning back the progress we have made in moving America forward.
Judge Roberts is said to love the law, but loving the law without loving the American people enough to protect their individual rights and freedoms will make our American community weaker. And the exercise of the law without compassion--something that Judge Roberts and so many on the far right have consistently been guilty of--undermines the grace and wisdom of the founders whose sense of balance and fairness made this country great.
In the past few weeks we have seen what happens when politics and indifference supercede compassion and organization. The enduring lesson of Hurricane Katrina is that there still are too many Americans who are disproportionately vulnerable. Despite the fact that they worked hard and played by the rules, their luck ran out. Americans are a compassionate, fair-minded people. Our nation is great and strong because of that compassion, not just because we have a strong military. We also have strong moral values which include an innate sense of justice often absent in many other parts of the world.
Our Government today shrinks from compassion. In doing so they have first diminished America in the eyes of the rest of the world, and now they have diminished America in the eyes of our own people. This is a time for justice tempered with mercy and understanding. There is no evidence of either in Judge Roberts's career. The President should be denied this nomination.