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Wednesday, July 20, 2005

MoveOn: Gather to Protect Our Rights

Posted by Bob Brigham

And the armies take to the battlefield. An email from MoveOn:

Last night President Bush nominated the right wing corporate lawyer John Roberts for a lifetime seat on the Supreme Court.

The next 48 hours are probably the most important in this whole campaign. The media and our senators are looking around to gauge the public's response. A strong reaction now could change the way everything else is covered and how far our leaders are willing to go to protect our rights.

That's why tomorrow, Thursday the 21st, thousands of MoveOn members will be gathering all across the country to spread the word and collect signatures to petition our senators. We'll gather in public areas and work in teams for an hour or two. Local media outlets have been alerted, and getting those stories on TV and in hometown papers is one of the most powerful things we can do.

Can you join us? You can find an event in your area, or start your own. We'll give you everything you need to make it easy. Just go to:


Here are what MoveOn members have said recently about similar events:

"It went well. I was thrilled to find several like minded people who live near me who will help out in future events!"
–Jean Yarborough, Judicial Canvassing Team Leader, North Richland Hills, TX

"I brought my dog which attracted positive attention. Next time I am making a sign for him to carry. He is a sheepdog, and so the sign will say, 'Don't let yourself be herded about, work to save Democracy!' May sound a bit silly, but when people stopped to pet him, we could then ask them if they wanted to sign the petition."
–Barbara Wust, People Speak Rally Host, Richmond, VA

We hope you can join us tomorrow:


Why is it so important to oppose Roberts? Because his short two years as a judge, his extensive history as a partisan, and his record as a corporate lawyer show a consistent pattern of putting right-wing ideology and corporate power over individuals' rights.

Here are some of the areas of greatest concern from Roberts' record:

As a partisan lawyer for the Bush Sr. and Reagan administrations, Roberts threatened:

Civil rights by asking the Supreme Court to severely limit the ability of district courts to desegregate public schools1, and working to ensure the Voting Rights Act could not be used to remedy many cases of actual discrimination against minority votes.2

Women's rights by fighting for a law barring doctors from even discussing reproductive options in many cases,3 and arguing that Roe. vs. Wade should be "overruled."4

Free speech by arguing to the Supreme Court that political speech that some considered offensive did not deserve First Amendment protections. The Court rejected his claim.5

Religious liberty by arguing to the Supreme Court that public schools could force religious speech on students. Again, the Court rejected the argument.6

As a corporate lawyer, Roberts threatened:
Community and environmental rights by working to strike down new clean-air rules and filing a brief for the National Mining Association, arguing that federal courts could not stop mountaintop-removal mining in West Virginia, even as it devastated local communities.7

Workers' rights by helping Toyota to successfully evade the Americans with Disabilities Act and fire workers for disabilities they suffered over time because of the requirements of their jobs.8

Public interest regulations by helping Fox News challenge FCC rules that prevented the creation of news media monopolies.9

In his short two years as a judge, Roberts has threatened:

Individual rights by rejecting the civil rights claims brought on behalf of a 12-year-old girl who had been handcuffed, arrested and taken away by the police for eating a single french fry in the D.C. Metro.10

Environmental protections when the dissent he wrote on an Endangered Species Act case, had it been in the majority, would have struck the Act down as unconstitutional in many cases, and would have threatened a wide swath of workplace, public safety and civil rights protections.11

Human Rights by voting to strike down the Geneva Conventions as applied to prisoners that the Bush administration chose to exempt from international law.12

Roberts' confirmation is not inevitable. As Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid said yesterday, "The President has made his choice. Now the Senate will do its job of deciding whether to confirm John Roberts to a lifetime seat on the Supreme Court."

Now it's time for us all to do our job of telling our senators that our rights are not negotiable, and John Roberts does not belong on the Supreme Court.

We hope to see you tomorrow.


Thanks for all that you do,

–Ben, James, Micayla, Wes and the MoveOn.org Political Action Team
Wednesday July 20th, 2005


1. Oklahoma City Public Schools v. Dowell

2. Alliance for Justice, Nominee Profile

3. Alliance for Justice, Nominee Profile

4. "Same Appeal; Different Styles," Washington Postm July 17, 2005

5. United States v. Eichman, 496 U.S. 310 (1990)

6. Lee v. Weisman, 505 U.S. 577 (1992)

7. "The Making of the Corporate Judiciary" Mother Jones, November/December 2003

8. Toyota Motor Mfg., Kentucky v. Williams, 534 U.S. 184 (2002)

9. Alliance for Justice

10. Hedgepeth v. Wash. Metro. Area Transit Auth., 386 F.3d 1148 (D.C. Cir. 2004)

11. Rancho Viejo, LLC v. Norton, 334 F.3d 1158 (D.C. Cir. 2003 cert. denied)

12. Court: U.S. May Resume Detainee Tribunals, Associated Press, July 16th 2005

Posted at 06:36 PM in Supreme Court | Technorati