Judge Roberts' Wife Opposes the Death Penalty

Judge John G. Roberts' wife is a consistent Catholic pro-lifer who opposes the death penalty. She belongs to an anti-capital punishment group. In the article on Justice Stevens' speech critical of the death penalty that I reported on earlier today, someone has called my attention to this statement which I missed.

"It [the death penalty] doesn't appear to be shaping up as a major issue," said Kent Scheidegger, legal director of the Criminal Justice Legal Foundation, a pro-death penalty group.

Scheidegger said that although Roberts' wife, Jane, is a member of a group that opposes capital punishment, Roberts has had no opportunities to vote on death cases in his two years on a federal appeals court.

Sentencing Law and Policy reported on July, 19:

I just received an interesting report that there is a rumor going around on a national death penalty discussion list "that Roberts is a 'pro-life conservative' and personally opposed to the death penalty."

Does it matter? It didn't stop him from arguing to restrict the rights of death row inmates rights in the past. Or were those cases just examples of him doing his job as the advocate for the Government.

I hope some Senators ask him whether he played any role in selecting death penalty cases for appeal while he was in the Solicitor General's office. Senator Feingold, are you listening?

< Dems Demand Libby Give Personalized Waiver to Judith Miller | Child Slavery in Iraq >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    Re: Judge Roberts' Wife Opposes the Death Penalty (none / 0) (#1)
    by ras on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:02:05 PM EST
    Tho I usually oppose the dp (with only occasional exceptions for, say, Saddam & the like), I don't think Judge Roberts, as a member of SCOTUS, will make decisions on it based on anything other than its constitutionality. His appointment signals a shift. Instead of trying to balance someone like Twist-To-The-Left Ginsburg with a Twist-To-The-Right mirror image, Bush has made clear, in choosing Roberts, that he (Bush) wants neither, and is opting instead for constructionists. This is obviously taking some getting used to, on both sides.

    Judge Roberts seems to have "matured" his views in recent years. With that said, he is an awfully big blank slate with views when he was younger that cause me to second guess my initially desire to support this nomination. When it comes to the death penalty, however, the recent tea leaves are more appealing than the G-d awful position he took in Herrera and McCleskey II. That Jane Roberts is a consitently pro-life catholic was pretty well known prior to his nomination; the organization she was so closely aligned with, Feminists for Life, in fact is a member of the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty His statements at his confirmation hearing on the death penalty in 2003 (available here) suggests he has problems with the way state killing is adminstered. Also his 25 hours of pro bono on the John Ferguson death case in Florida do give me some hope. All three of these are after the earlier memos and give me pause to suspect his views may have matured. Then again, it could just be a bad case of rose colored glasses.

    Technical correction to the last post, Roberts does not appear to have played a role in McCleskey II. My apology for the confusion and wasted bandwidth.

    Re: Judge Roberts' Wife Opposes the Death Penalty (none / 0) (#4)
    by scarshapedstar on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:02:05 PM EST
    Ras, it's not his stances on social issues that I'm worried about, it's the fact that he is a walking, talking corporation just like Bush.

    Re: Judge Roberts' Wife Opposes the Death Penalty (none / 0) (#5)
    by ras on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:02:05 PM EST
    SSS, Please expound on specific instances. The ones where he was a hired gun/lawyer don't carry much weight w/me, as in those instances he was ethically bound to present someone else's viewpoint. E.g. the gay rights or states rights cases in which he was involved as a gun. I'm more interested in his judicial record. Did he, or did he not, show a constructionist viewpoint? Political screeds-in-a-label, such as "corporatist" are Cheshire Cat phraseology, meaning whatever the speaker wants. Please, some specifics, thx.

    Re: Judge Roberts' Wife Opposes the Death Penalty (none / 0) (#6)
    by John Mann on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:02:06 PM EST
    Tho I usually oppose the dp (with only occasional exceptions for, say, Saddam & the like)
    What do you mean by "...and the like..." ras? Is it a "volume" kind of thing with you? Would you support the death penalty if George W Bush were tried for his crimes against humanity?

    Hey, at least she's consistent. Too many Christians I run into will do anything to save a blastocyst and nothing at all to save an adult human. I have no love for Roberts et al, but hey, you have to give her credit on this one.