Answer to written question from Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D-Del.) for Roberts's 2003 confirmation hearing, citing a 1990 government brief in Rust v. Sullivan, that carried Roberts's name as deputy solicitor general: "Do you continue to believe that [Roe v. Wade] was wrongly decided? Why or why not?"
I do not believe that it is proper to infer a lawyer's personal views from the positions that lawyer may advocate on behalf of a client in litigation. To the extent the question about my 'continuing' belief is based on the federal government's brief in Rust v. Sullivan, nothing about what my personal views were or are should be inferred from the fact that my name appears on the federal government's brief, as one of nine lawyers in that case.
The Supreme Court's decision in Roe is binding precedent, and if I were to be confirmed, as a circuit judge, I would be bound to follow it, regardless of any personal views. Nothing about my personal views would prevent me from doing so.
Roberts, April 30, 2003, confirmation hearing, Senate Judiciary committee:
My practice has not been ideological in any sense. My clients and their positions are liberal and conservative across the board. I have argued in favor of environmental restrictions and against takings claims. I've argued in favor of affirmative action. I've argued in favor of prisoners' rights under the Eighth Amendment. I've argued in favor of antitrust enforcement.
At the same time, I've represented defendants charged with antitrust cases. I've argued cases against affirmative action. And what I've been able to do in each of those cases is set aside any personal views and discharge the professional obligation of an advocate.
Oct. 27, 2004, decision, written by Roberts, that upheld the arrest of a 12-year-old girl by Metro police for eating a French fry in a train station in 2000. Roberts, who wrote the opinion, made clear he did not like the system's "zero tolerance" policy.
The youngster, he wrote, was "frightened, embarrassed and crying throughout the ordeal." He noted that "the policies were changed after those responsible endured the sort of publicity reserved for adults who make young girls cry."
July 15, 2005, decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, upholding special military trials for detainees at Guantanamo Bay prison in the case of Salim Ahmed Hamdan. Roberts was part of the court's 3 to 0 decision to overturn a federal court ruling that the "military commissions" were illegal but did not write the opinion.
We think it no answer to say as Hamdan does, that this case is different because Congress did not formally declare war. . . . We therefore hold that through the joint resolution and the two statutes just mentioned, Congress authorized the military commission that will try Hamdan.