On the issue of gender equality on worker wages, Roberts was critical of three Republican congresswomen who supported the concept.
Roberts referred to a 1983 case in which the Washington state supreme court found the state guilty of discrimination for paying women less than men for jobs of "comparable worth."
Roberts said in a February 3, 1984, memo that the ruling smacked of judicial activism. "This is a total reorientation of the law of gender discrimination," he concluded, since "it mandates nothing less than central planning of the economy by judges. Under the theory judges, not the marketplace, decide how much a particular job is worth."
Later that month, Roberts again addressed the issue, noting three GOP lawmakers applauded the ruling. One was then-Rep. Olympia Snowe, now the senior U.S. senator from Maine. The congresswomen complained women at the time earned only 60 cents for every dollar earned by men.
"I honestly find it troubling that three Republican representatives are so quick to embrace such a radical redistribute concept. Their slogan may as well be 'From each according to his ability, to each according to her gender,'" said Roberts.
Roberts also opposed the Court's ruling in Wallace v. Jaffree. There, the Court ruled that an Alabama law which nominally only affirmed the right of students to pray silently during a moment of silence, but whose legislative history made it clear it was designed as an end-run around prior School Prayer cases like Engel v. Vitale, was unconstitutional under the 1st amendment. Though this case is nearer and dearer to my heart, I recognize it is far more controversial. Roberts' position on gender equality, by contrast, seems absolutely fringe. The "market" should decide what a woman's job is worth? If there was ever a clear cut example of a market failure, it seems like this was it (60 cents versus a dollar--come on). And Roberts' comparison of judicial efforts to remedy rather blatant sex discrimination in the work place to "central planning" is just absurd. This is precisely the type of ideological blindness to clear facts that I hoped Roberts would avoid.
My support is slipping.