Roberts Called Rehnquist Court “Not Very Conservative”


Contact: Peter Montgomery at People For the American Way

Email: [email protected]

Phone Number: 202.467.4999

Interview from 2000 suggests Roberts wants to see Court move to the right

In a televised interview originally aired on July 2, 2000 that was replayed Sunday on This Week with George Stephanopoulos, John Roberts said three important court rulings striking down limits on reproductive choice, defending church-state separation, and upholding the Miranda decision, made “a compelling case that we do not have a very conservative Supreme Court.”

Roberts said Court decisions overturning a state ban on specific abortion procedures, holding unconstitutional organized prayer at public school activities, and upholding the Miranda’s ruling were defeats for conservatives. Roberts praised the Court ruling upholding the Boy Scouts’ ban on gay scoutmasters.

People For the American Way President Ralph G. Neas said Roberts’ comments affirmed the urgent need for senators to get clear answers about where the nominee stands on protecting Americans’ basic rights and constitutional safeguards.

“It is clearer than ever that the confirmation of John Roberts would mean replacing Sandra Day O’Connor with someone who has viewed her as an impediment to the ultraconservative legal movement he helped lead as a political appointee during the Reagan and first Bush administrations,” said Neas. “Roberts’ careful way with words cannot be allowed to mask the truth about his approach to the Constitution.”

When asked whether the Court term means that the “conservative counterrevolution” on the Court was over, Roberts said “I think a lot will depend on new appointments and the types of cases that do come before the Court.” When asked how much of a difference the outcome of the 2000 presidential election would have on the Court, Roberts noted that “we do have a Court with several members who have served for a long time and who would probably be expected to step down” and he said “depending upon which ones of those [justices] steps down and who is appointed in their place, it could well make a difference.”

More information about Nominee Roberts at