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Saturday, August 20, 2005
Roberts Hates Women
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 8:30 am

Certainly that seems to be the argument this week.

Via the AP we get: Roberts Scoffed at O’Connor Promotion

As a lawyer in the Reagan White House, John Roberts scoffed at the notion of elevating Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor to chief justice as a way to close a political gender gap, calling it a “crass political consideration.”

This comes across as if the reason that Roberts had a derisive view of the notion is somehow about either his opinion of O’Connor specifically or somehow about gender generally.

However, as we read the story we find the following:

In an Aug. 2, 1984, memo, Roberts responded to a former member of the
Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors, John E. Sheehan, who had written President Reagan to suggest an election-year strategy that Roberts described as closing the “so-called ‘gender gap.’” Reagan was more popular among men than women.

Sheehan’s plan called for then-Chief Justice Warren Burger, who was nearing retirement, to step down soon after the 1984 Republican convention and be appointed as an ambassador.

“The president would elevate Justice O’Connor two weeks later, and then name yet another woman to succeed O’Connor two weeks after that. Presto! The gender gap vanishes,” Roberts wrote.

“Any appointments the president may make to the Supreme Court will not be based on such crass political considerations,” Roberts advised in a memo to his boss, Fred Fielding.

Okay, so going into the political season, a supporter of President Reagan notes that Reagan suffers from a “gender gap” and suggests that the way to “fix” the problem is to elevate O’Connor to the CJ slot so as to make women like Reagan more. The entire consideration is based on hoped-for electoral gains. Indeed, the idea that a President could go to a Chief Justice, and convince him to step down for purely political reasons and then pay him off with an ambassadorhsip is not only ludicrious, but the very definition of “crass political considerations.”

And let’s not forget that the idea behind the strategy was that women would swoon for Reagan is only he put a woman in the CJ slot.

In what way was Roberts wrong for writing “[a]ny appointments the president may make to the Supreme Court will not be based on such crass political considerations”?

Surely, we would all agree that Presidents shouldn’t make decisions about the Court simply based on the votes it may garner them?

The ongoing attempt to paint Roberts as a rabid misogynist is getting rather old rather quickly.

Is it just me, or does it not seem like what is going on here an attempt to find any quote that might sound inflammatory, and then writing a story around it?


  1. I saw this story last night and almost wrote about it as well. Unfortunately, look for more of the same in the near future. I’d probably blame the headline writer on this one, trying to get people to read the story with a sensationalist spin. The sad part is most won’t actually read the story, preferring to get their opinion from the headline.


    Comment by Bryan S. — Saturday, August 20, 2005 @ 9:08 am

  2. Roberts = Woody

    The more I read about John Roberts the more excited I get about his nomination. Every point (negative and positive) that I have heard thus far from the left (and the right!) has increased his standing in my views. If…

    Trackback by Kapitalismo — Saturday, August 20, 2005 @ 10:07 am

  3. From a woman’s point of view, that doesn’t sound like women hating to me. If anything, it sounds more like something positive about his character, rather than negative.

    Comment by Jan — Saturday, August 20, 2005 @ 10:21 am

  4. You are obviously an insensitive misogynistic throwback to the days when all women were shackled to their Easy Bake ovens, Dr. Taylor.

    Judge Roberts’ atavistic, anti-feminist views are clearly shown in everything he says and does, which you would see if you only had the proper outlook.

    Why, just look who he chose to spend his life with.

    Comment by Cassandra, snarking from the sidelines — Saturday, August 20, 2005 @ 11:26 am

  5. He may unshackle his wife from her Easy Bake oven someday. LOL!!!!

    Dr. T does have his blind spots at times, but he’s really not a misogynist. I’ve met some misogynists and I know Dr. Taylor, he may have some misguided views at times (I’m a liberal and he’s a conservative), but he does NOT hate, devalue, or discriminate against women.

    Comment by Jan — Saturday, August 20, 2005 @ 1:19 pm

  6. Jan,

    Many thanks for the defense.

    Although it takes a minute to sink in, I realized that Casandra was being tongue-in-cheek.

    And, btw, I agree with your assessment of what Roberts did. My point was that if one read just the headline or even the first paragraph or two of the AP piece, one would not come away with the sense that Roberts was objecting to the political stunt that had been suggested-especially in the context of the stories earlier about comparable worth and the riff about women becoming attorneys.

    There has been a pattern and it is linked to painting Roberts as anti-woman, and hence, anti-abortion.

    Comment by Dr. Steven Taylor — Saturday, August 20, 2005 @ 1:31 pm

  7. I thought she might be joking, but how could I resist the opportunity to defend you AND say you have blind spots and are misguided. ;)

    Comment by Jan — Sunday, August 21, 2005 @ 9:49 am

  8. […]

    Now Roberts Hates Civil Rights
    By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 8:11 am

    Last week we had definitive proof that Roberts hates women and gender equity. Now, via WaPp, we learn his support for c […]

    Pingback by PoliBlog: Politics is the Master Science » Now Roberts Hates Civil Rights — Friday, August 26, 2005 @ 8:12 am

  9. […] 220;Roberts Hate Bad Grammar!” — at least that makes it parallel with this and this). Via the NYT: In Re Grammar, Roberts’s Stance Is Crystal Clear In fact, an obsession with rhetori […]

    Pingback by PoliBlog: Politics is the Master Science » Slow News Monday — Monday, August 29, 2005 @ 6:27 am

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