Friday, August 19, 2005

Homemakers better than lawyers

Here is the latest attack on judicial nominee John Roberts:
CNN's Bill Mears, Joe Johns, Robert Yoon, Melissa McNamara, David DeSola, and Xuan Thai reviewed the latest dump of documents, which covered Roberts' work as a White House lawyer in the Reagan administration from '82 to '86. Here are some findings:

Most notably, Roberts dismissed a corporate award for women over age 30, saying, "some might question whether encouraging homemakers to become lawyers contributes to the common good."

The young lawyer made the comment as a personal aside after being asked to examine whether Linda Chavez, then the White House director of public liaison, could nominate one her aides to a "rising star" award sponsored by the Clairol beauty care company. The $1,000 grant was designed to honor women who "made a significant change in their field" after turning 30.

The aide, Linda Arey had left teaching to enter law school. She had encouraged many former homemakers to enter law, while working as a dean at Richmond Law School. Roberts, whose job in part was to decide conflict of interest and ethics issues, concluded that the award was proper.

The comment, one of many flip remarks Roberts made in official documents being reviewed this summer, annoyed women across the ideological divide yesterday. "It kind of sounds like a smart alecky comment," Phyllis Schlafly, the president of the conservative Eagle Forum, who entered law school when she was 51, told the Washington Post. Schlafly noted that Roberts was "a young bachelor and hadn't seen a whole lot of life at that point."
Roberts is right. Homemakers are trying to make the world better, and lawyers are trying to make it worse.

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