In 1996, Supreme Court nominee John G. Roberts Jr. contributed to a gay rights case that advocates hailed as a legal victory for the gay rights movement. The ruling was to protect people from discrimination based on their sexual orientation.
In the past, Roberts was the man to see for pro bono work at his law firm, Hogan & Hartson because of his ability to analyze cases and provide strategic legalistic guides in moot court sessions.
Romer v. Evans, a provision from the Colorado Constitution that would have granted landlords and employers with the power to ban homosexuals from housing, was given to him by one of his colleagues, Walter A. Smith, who said that Roberts took the case without hesitation.
Although, Roberts did not present the case before the high court nor contribute any paper work, he did, however, advise appellate lawyers on how to argue in front of the Supreme court by using Robert’s inside tips.
It was ruled 6-3 and was considered a legal victory for activists of the gay rights movement.
Jean Dubofsky, a leading lawyer for gay rights activists, said that when she took on this case, she was referred to Roberts, who helped her form the argument that the lawsuit violated the "equal protections" clause of the Constitution, she told the Los Angeles Times.
In addition, she said that Roberts told her to remember two "absolutely crucial," aspects, which were, "to count and know where [the] votes are coming from," and the other was to be, "on top of why and where and how the state court had ruled in this case," Dubofsky told LA Times.
Both Smith and Dubofsky commented on Roberts "fair-mindedness," and said that he was the type of person that helped people in tight situations, but Roberts has said in the past that lawyers defend people that may not have the same view on the issues.
In addition, Smith had this to say about Roberts, "Every good lawyer knows that if there is something in his client's cause that so personally offends you, morally, religiously, […] that you think it would undermine your ability to do your duty as a lawyer, then you shouldn't take it on, and John wouldn't have," according to the NYT.
Smith also said that Roberts may have viewed the case while regarding a larger question of whether the constitution would guarantee equal protection that prohibited singling out a particular group of people that wouldn't be protected by an anti-discrimination law, he told AP.
Pro life organizations and conservatives still support him as the right candidate.
James C. Dobson, chairman of the evangelical group Focus on the Family, said that this news is not welcoming for those who advocate traditional values, but he said that this does not mean Roberts shares the same views as those that were reflected in the case, he told the NYT.