A report by the Los Angeles Times states that Supreme Court nominee John Roberts offered limited aid to a gay rights lawyer for a case in the nation's highest court in 1996, as groups continue to try to find clues about his legal philosophy.
The 1996 Supreme Court Case of Romer vs. Evans struck down by a vote of 6 to 3, a Colorado initiative that would have allowed employers and landlords to exclude homosexuals from jobs and housing.
Roberts donated about six hours to the case with pro-bono work during his time as a private lawyer for the Washington law firm of Hogan & Hartson. His involvement was limited to reviewing filings and preparing oral arguments, according to lawyers involved in the case, the L.A. Times reported. He did not argue the case before judges or write legal briefs about the case.
Roberts helped by acting in a way similar to conservative Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia in a mock trial and also helped devise a strategy for the case.
Both liberals and conservatives are poring over Robert's past records to determine how he will judge in future Supreme Court cases. Roberts was nominated by President Bush, who, in campaign promises to supporters said that he would nominate a judge in the mold of Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, considered by many to be among the most conservative on the nation's highest court bench.
Despite the L.A. Times news article, pro-family group Focus on the Family remained in support of the nominee.
"While this is certainly not welcome news to those of us who advocate for traditional values, it is by no means a given that John Roberts' personal views are reflected in his involvement in the case," said Focus on the Family in a statement, according to the Washington Post.
Liberal groups were not swayed by the revelation. Nan Aron of the Alliance for Justice said the Robert's involvement in the case "doesn't say anything about his judicial philosophy."
However, Jean Dubofsky, the lead lawyer for the Supreme Court Case in question said that the advice given by Roberts was "absolutely critical" to the case. She said that Roberts helped her form an argument that the Colorado initiative violated the "equal protections" clause of the Constitution, according to the L.A. Times.
In their dissent, Justices Scalia, Thomas, and William H. Rehnquist said that "Coloradans are entitled to be hostile to homosexual conduct." Scalia said that the opinion of the majority "had no foundation in American constitutional law and barely pretends to."