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Opponents, supporters weigh in on Roberts

WASHINGTON, July 19 (UPI) -- Opponents and supporters of U.S. Circuit Judge John Robert's nomination to the Supreme Court began to weigh in even before it became official Tuesday night.

After the announcement by President Bush at the White House, the American Civil Liberties Union said it had "deep concern about some of the civil liberties positions advocated by" Roberts.

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The ACLU said Roberts, while serving as principal deputy solicitor general from 1989-1993, "authored briefs calling for Roe vs. Wade to be overruled, supporting school graduation prayer and seeking to criminalize flag burning as a form of political protest."

The National Right to Life Committee's legislative director, Douglas Johnson, said, "Liberal pressure groups will insist that Senate Democrats filibuster against Judge Roberts, unless he pledges in advance to vote against allowing elected legislators to place meaningful limits on abortion. Millions of Americans will be watching to see if the Democratic senators bow to these demands."

Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said Bush "had an opportunity to unite the country with his Supreme Court nomination, to nominate an individual in the image of Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. Instead ... President Bush has chosen a more controversial nominee and guaranteed a more controversial confirmation process."

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The Leadership Conference on Civil Rights wondered if Roberts would be a Justice Antonin Scalia in O'Connors' robes.

But the Center for Individual Freedom called Roberts an "outstanding nominee."

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