Yesterday, while in the process of writing Campaign reporter gives Ohio a second look, I found myself back on the web site of The Free Press. When I was posting diaries about Ohio election irregularities and the recount, that site was an indispensable source to me. Actually, it goes back further than that. Bob Fitrakis’ article Diebold, electronic voting and the vast right-wing conspiracy, printed in February   of 2004, was the article that first made me aware of the whole Diebold mess, and how Ken Blackwell, who was already planning a run for governor, stood to benefit from "black box voting."

When the challenge of the Ohio electors was finally over, I guess I was a little burned out from the whole thing, and I didn’t have reason or motive to look at that site for a while. It seems I have been missing some good articles. Below the fold is an excerpt from Paul Loeb, entitled Speaking Truth to Roberts, as well as links to other articles of interest.

Roberts is being hailed as the brilliant Harvard lawyer who gets along with everyone. He’s conservative, but reasonable. He doesn’t froth at the mouth. He barely barks. Unlike Bush’s three most recent Appeals Court appointees, he hasn’t led a right wing ideological charge. He’s being praised as a nomination Bush should be proud of.

We need to tell a different story, and do our best to get it into the media, the arguments raised by our elected representatives, and the awareness of our fellow citizens. The actual outcome will probably depend on a small group of Republican “moderates,” who tend to briefly question about Bush’s policies and choices, then toe the line on critical votes. But if they really demanded moderate appointments, or stood firm against the “nuclear option” power grab that threatens to end the filibuster, Roberts could certainly be defeated. Whatever the final vote, offering a critical perspective gives us the chance to help frame how Americans view this administration and what we can expect from future lifetime appointments to a court that’s our final arbiter of rights and governmental power. Settling for an appointment as regressive as Roberts invites Bush to nominate someone still worse for next round. Challenging him draws a line and invites our fellow citizens to stand up in other ways to this immensely destructive presidency.

How has a seemingly nice man like Roberts supported a politics of contempt for the voice of anyone but the wealthy and powerful? In a time when the Bush administration acts as if granted the divine right of kings, it’s troubling that Roberts defended Cheney’s right to refuse to name the corporate participants in his secret energy policy meeting. He advised Jeb Bush on the 2000 election, and denied being a member of the ultra-conservative Federalist Society, then turned up on the Society’s Washington steering committee. He’s argued that the Voting Rights Act can only be violated by intentional discrimination, saying laws that incidentally discriminate are ok. Most damning, Roberts just ruled that if this administration wishes to exempt someone from the Geneva Convention and international law, they have the absolute right to do so. The belief that a president can do whatever he chooses links this nomination, the Downing Street Memo and Plamegate in a common matrix of unaccountable power.

Roberts is also disturbingly loyal to dubious corporate interests, or at least to principles that allow these interests to run roughshod over ordinary citizens and communities. He argued that private individuals could not sue the federal government for violations of environmental regulations like the removal of mountaintops by West Virginia mining companies. He supported the rights of developers to ignore the Endangered Species Act. He denied the rights of workers injured over time as part of their jobs, supported criminal contempt fines to force the end of a strike, and helped a major car manufacturer avoid a recall of dangerous seatbelts.

Then there’s Roe vs Wade. People of goodwill can disagree about abortion, but overturning that decision would devastate the lives of women forced to bear unwanted children. Roberts has already argued, as Deputy Solicitor General, that “Roe was wrongly decided and should be overruled.” Pat Robertson endorsed him as one of his top favored choices. In the words of Tony Perkins of the ultra-conservative Family Research Council, Bush “promised to nominate someone along the lines of a Scalia or a Thomas and that is exactly what he has done.”

Click here for the rest. In the comments, I will provide links to other Free Press articles you may have missed.

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