Inouye rejects Roberts’ nomination
The Bush nominee seems likely, however, to be approved to sit on the Supreme Court
Sen. Daniel Inouye said yesterday that he would vote against confirming President Bush's nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court, saying too many questions about his positions remain unanswered.
A divided Democratic caucus assured John Roberts of a comfortable, bipartisan Senate confirmation today as the nation's 17th chief justice, the youngest in 200 years. Twenty-one Senate Democrats will be among the 76 senators -- more than three-fourths of the 100-member Senate -- who say they plan to vote to confirm the 50-year-old Roberts as the successor to the late William Rehnquist.
Inouye, D-Hawaii, is among the 21 Democrats who have announced their opposition to Roberts.
Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii, and Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., are the only two Democrats who had not said how they will vote as of yesterday afternoon.
Inouye said his concerns lie in the White House's repeated refusal to release documents from Roberts' work as principal deputy solicitor general under President George H.W. Bush.
"These documents, written during Judge Roberts' tenure in his most senior executive branch position, are relevant to the Senate's evaluation of his fitness to serve as the chief justice of the highest court in the land," Inouye said in a statement.
"I am not suggesting that these documents might contain dark shadows -- far from it," Inouye said. "The refusal of the White House to allow the American people to see this corner of Judge Roberts' record, however, deviates from the careful road our founding fathers paved for us so many years ago, and leave Americans wondering, 'Do those papers hide something I should know?'"
Roberts has drawn fire for his conservative views on women's issues and civil rights.
"As one who has spent his life fighting against baseless prejudice and discrimination, I share these concerns," said Inouye, who lost his right arm during World War II as a member the Army's storied "Go for Broke" 442nd Regimental Combat Team made up almost entirely of Japanese Americans. "Would the papers withheld from our sight have answered these questions? We will never know."
Inouye said he does not object to Roberts' politics or his personal beliefs.