Roberts Defends Opposing FCC EEO Rules

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Supreme Court Nominee John Roberts Thursday outlined his role in opposing the FCC's affirmative action regime in 1990 when he was deputy solicitor general.

During questioning from Senator Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.), who pointed out that the government, in the form of the FCC, defended its policy but that Roberts opposed it, Roberts pointed out yet again that he was representing a client, in this case the arm of the government that argues cases before the Supreme Court and that the government's position was that they were unconstitutional.

Roberts conceded that it was unusual to have the government on both sides of the argument, but also said that he had decided to allow the FCC to defend its policy, although he was not required to do so.

The specific FCC minority preference policies challenged in that case were upheld in a close 5-4 decision in that case, but in a later case, the conservative D.C. Circuit, on which Roberts would later serve, held other aspects of its EEO program unconstitutional.