Governor Richardson Would Likely Vote Against Supreme Court Nominee John Roberts

StorySeptember 22, 2005
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Gov. Richardson says he would have difficulty supporting Supreme Court nominee John Roberts. He calls his earlier record on civil rights and affirmative action “troublesome.” [includes rush transcript]

Governor Richardson tells Democracy Now! that he probably wouldn’t support John Roberts who has been nominated for Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Richardson says that Supreme Court justices should have a strong sense of fairness and compassion.

  • Governor Bill Richardson, Democratic Governor of New Mexico, former ambassador to the UN

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This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: The taking up of the vote on the Chief Justice of the United States, John Roberts: Your feelings. Would you vote for him?

GOVERNOR RICHARDSON: Well, I was trying— you know, I’m not going to duck this. I was trying to think about it this morning. I probably would have difficulty voting for him. I’ve read some of his earlier opinions on civil rights, on affirmative action, and it troubles me. Although I believe that he’s a man that is fair, that has strings of compassion in him. But I want to see supreme court justices have strong sense of fairness and compassion and respect for civil rights and the right to choose and so, I probably would not. I was just thinking about it, and this vote is probably going to happen this week or next week.

AMY GOODMAN: Other issues that concern governors, presidents, not to mention just everyday citizens: the death penalty. It almost came to your desk. You’re for or against the death penalty?

GOVERNOR RICHARDSON: I am for the death penalty in the most extreme of circumstances. I worry, however, about recent problems about access to strong legal representation, DNA. There was a proposal in New Mexico that said no death penalty but life imprisonment without parole . I don’t support that, I still believe in that the most heinous of crimes, that it is appropriate.

AMY GOODMAN: Last question on North Korea. You have been intimately involved with negotiations with North Korea. In fact when North Korean officials came to this country they flew directly to Santa Fe. What do you think should happen?

GOVERNOR RICHARDSON: Well, I believe the Bush administration is finally moving in the right direction. We’re talking to them directly, that we’re basically in exchange for dismantling their nuclear arsenal that the several countries in Asia and the United States that provide food assistance, that they provide economic aid. There’s some kind of stability to the relationship in exchange for also not pursuing aggressive action against North Korea, so negotiations, I believe, are on track.

The North Koreans like to tactically, what’s the word, disrupt things, an agreement was signed in Beijing about four days ago. I think we’re in the right path, but what is not make sense with North Korea is when pursuing a military action, sanctions, I think diplomacy is the way to go and the Bush Administration started off with a policy that did not make sense and now is moving very much in the right direction.

AMY GOODMAN: Governor bill Richardson thanks very much for being with us.

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