'Judge Roberts as chief justice threatens decades of a federal court system tipped against equality,' said HRC President Joe Solmonese.
WASHINGTON - The Human Rights Campaign today emphasized the significant role of a Supreme Court chief justice as President Bush nominated Judge Roberts to the position.
"Judge Roberts as chief justice threatens decades of a federal court system tipped against equality," said HRC President Joe Solmonese. "By deciding who authors majority opinions, he would be responsible for setting the tone and tenor of the judgments behind some of our nation's greatest debates. He would wield significant authority over the entire federal judiciary and would serve as a model for other justices to follow. Being appointed to the Supreme Court deserves serious scrutiny and we hope the Senate takes even greater lengths as the hearings begin next week."
Solmonese added, "As President Bush looks again to fill the vacancy of Sandra Day O'Connor, we hope he seeks a consensus with the Senate on a nominee who will protect every American fairly. We need a nominee that all Americans can rally behind."
The chief justice:
ﾴin essence, is the chief executive officer of a bureaucracy of some 1,200 life-tenured judges, 850 more magistrate and bankruptcy judges and a staff of 30,000
ﾴhas the power to select the author of an opinion when voting with the majority - affecting both the tone and substance of the opinion
ﾴpresides over the court's public sessions and the conferences where the justices discuss the cases before them
ﾴis the chair of the policy-setting body - the Judicial Conference of the United States - that establishes the priorities for the federal judiciary, including overseeing its budget, now about $5.43 billion annually
ﾴappoints the director of the Administrative Office of the United States Courts and, together, they select the judges who sit on judicial committees focused on topics from technology to international judicial relations
ﾴselects judges who sit, for limited terms, on special courts dealing with such issues as multidistrict litigation (cases taking place in several locations) and the deportation of terrorists
ﾴis the face of the U.S. judiciary to the world and a model for other justices to follow and
ﾴsymbolizes a judicial era. For example, the Warren Court was known for protecting civil rights, and the Rehnquist Court was known for its "federalist revolution," in which Congress's authority to enact legislation was scaled back.
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.
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