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Bush Court nominee did work for landmark gay-rights case

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    Bush court Nominee Did Work for Landmark Gay-rights Case By Robert Marus Associated Baptist Press August 4, 2005 WASHINGTON (ABP) -- John Roberts, President
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 4, 2005
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      Bush court Nominee Did Work for Landmark Gay-rights Case
      By Robert Marus
      Associated Baptist Press
      August 4, 2005


      WASHINGTON (ABP) -- John Roberts, President Bush's nominee to the
      Supreme Court, donated legal work on behalf of gay-rights groups that
      helped them win a landmark 1996 case before that panel, according to
      the Los Angeles Times.

      While he was a private attorney, Roberts did several different kinds
      of legal work to help prepare the attorneys arguing on the side of
      gay-rights groups in Romer vs. Evans. That decision overturned a
      Colorado law that struck down all local gay-rights provisions.
      Justices in the 6-3 majority said the law violated gay and lesbian
      Coloradoans' constitutional right to equal protection.

      Romer vs. Evans was widely considered the most important legal victory
      for the gay-rights movement up to that point. It provided some of the
      legal basis for the Supreme Court's landmark 2003 Lawrence vs. Texas
      decision, which invalidated laws that banned gay sex nationwide.

      According to the Times, Roberts helped prepare the attorneys who
      argued for the gay Coloradoans who protested the law. He contributed
      help on legal briefs, and held moot-court sessions to ready the
      attorneys for oral arguments before the high court.

      At the time, Roberts was an attorney with the Washington firm Hogan &
      Hartson. He had successfully argued several cases before the justices,
      and the firm expected its lawyers to perform pro bono, or charity,
      work for various causes.

      The lawyer who headed the firm's pro bono department at the time said
      Roberts did not hesitate when asked to help on the case. "He said,
      'Let's do it.' And it's illustrative of his open-mindedness, his
      fair-mindedness," Walter Smith told the newspaper. "He did a brilliant
      job."

      The lead attorney for the case, who worked with Roberts, told the
      paper that people directed her toward the nominee on the case.
      "Everybody said Roberts was one of the people I should talk to," said
      Jean Dubofsky, who was a former Colorado Supreme Court justice. "He
      has a better idea on how to make an effective argument to a court that
      is pretty conservative and hasn't been very receptive to gay rights."

      Ironically, the three justices who dissented from the majority in
      Romer vs. Evans are the ones to whom social conservatives have
      favorably compared Roberts. In a minority opinion, authored by Justice
      Antonin Scalia and joined by Chief Justice William Rehnquist and
      Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, Scalia excoriated the very legal
      reasoning that Roberts reportedly recommended.

      "Coloradans are entitled to be hostile toward homosexual conduct."
      Scalia wrote, adding that the majority opinion had "no foundation in
      American constitutional law, and barely pretends to."
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