Press Room

August 18, 2005

Category: HIV & AIDS

Another Troubling Document Adds to Growing Concerns over Roberts’ Nomination

'The more we hear about John Roberts' record, the more troubled we become,' said HRC President Joe Solmonese.

WASHINGTON - Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese made the following statement today after a September 1985 memo was released in which John Roberts urged that language be removed from presidential briefing materials that could have calmed a nation during the AIDS crisis. Contrary to contemporary science, Roberts recommended the following line be deleted: "as far as our best scientists have been able to determine, AIDS virus is not transmitted through casual or routine contact."

"The more we hear about John Roberts' record, the more troubled we become," said Solmonese. "That he counseled President Reagan against using sound science to reassure a fearful nation is a concerning revelation. Scientists from the federal government confirmed children living with AIDS posed no risk to their peers in school. Doubting the validity of experienced scientists, as John Roberts suggested, adds to the worrisome information we already have about his ability to be impartial and fair."

A Washington Post article from August of 1985 reported that guidelines released by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention said, "School-age children infected with the virus that causes AIDS should be allowed to attend school or day-care program."

According to a New York Times article from the same month, the CDC said, "Casual person-to-person contact, as among schoolchildren, appears to pose no risk."

As early as November of 1982, the CDC said, "Airborne spread and interpersonal spread through casual contact do not seem likely."

The Human Rights Campaign is the largest national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender political organization with members throughout the country. It effectively lobbies Congress, provides campaign support and educates the public to ensure that LGBT Americans can be open, honest and safe at home, at work and in the community.