Just as I was about to turn in, I received a press release from the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF) noting that three gay organizations had joined them in opposing the nomination of Judge John G. Roberts to the U.S. Supreme Court. Just a week after GLAAD names a Republican as its new head, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) and Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) have come out against the president’s nominee for the Supreme Court before the Senate has even held hearings on his nomination. (I guess it’s too much to ask that more than one national gay organization acknowledges the significance of the 2004 elections.) My guess is that the only people who will pay any attention to this announcement are Senators who have already made up their minds to oppose the good judge’s confirmation.
Not waiting to hear his how this good man handles tough questions from the Senate Judiciary Committee, these groups have decided to join the growing number of left-wing organizations opposing his confirmation. In their release, they provide little evidence to show how Roberts would not be good for gay people. They borrow a few arguments from the left and strain (without much evidence to back them up) to show that he just might possibly be bad for us. Shouldn’t they wait and see how he addresses questions on gay issues in his confirmation hearings before rushing to conclusions?
They mention a September 1985 memo where he “cautioned President Reagan against stating that the AIDS virus could not be spread through casual contact among schoolchildren, claiming that this conclusion was in dispute.” But, given how much more we know about AIDS today than we did back then, it might be a good idea to ask the judge if he believes he erred in writing that memo twenty years ago–and if he was aware (at the time) of the Centers for Disease Controls (CDC) guidelines which stated that casual contact “appears to pose no risk.” (Or maybe he was aware of those guidelines and thought the word “appears” justified his caution.) We can better know how his views on AIDS have evolved if Senators ask him about that memo (as I believe they should).
Their release is long on platitudes and short on substance. These groups, like Senate Democrats and others on the left are troubled by the refusal of the Administration to release “relevant documents relating to Judge Roberts’ service as principal deputy solicitor general from 1989 to 1993.” I will only take them seriously on this one if any one of these organizations can show that they requested the release of all documents related to the work of President Clinton’s nominees to the Supreme Court, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer. And Ms. Ginsburg had worked for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
Moreover, these gay groups noted that these documents “include Roberts’ writings about cases involving voting rights, choice, the separation of church and state, and many other subjects of critical importance.” (Emphasis added.) Choice? Oh, you mean, “abortion rights.” Hmm. . . didn’t know that was a gay issue. But, In her statement, Kate Kendell, executive director of NCLR, harps on that and other liberal issues, noting Roberts’ hostility to “the claims of those seeking to preserve affirmative action, reproductive freedom and fundamental rights.” Seems these groups are more interested in taking a liberal view of issues than a gay one.
I could spend a good hour “fisking” this press release, but I have a paper due this week and friends in from out-of-town tomorrow. It doesn’t make a good case against the nomination of Judge Roberts. All it does is place these gay groups in league with other contemporary left-wing organizations, more interested in opposing President Bush, his policies and his nominations than in a serious consideration of the issues.
If gay groups want to prove themselves relevant to the political process in a nation with a Republican president and Republican majorities in both house of Congress, they should have at least shown the president’s nominee the courtesy of waiting for his confirmation hearings. They should at leaste wait for him to address his record of the past quarter century before rushing to conclusions about his qualifications to serve on the highest court in the land.
-Dan (AKA GayPatriotWest): GayPatriotWest@aol.com