Liberals Attack SJC Nominee

Law Professor Fried Faces Oppostion

Harvard Law School professor Charles Fried may face a rocky ride in his bid for confirmation to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) in the wake of an outpouring of protest following his nomination last week.

A number of liberal organizations around the state have taken issue with Fried's positions and questioned whether he has the right temperament for the job.

Fried, Carter professor of general jurisprudence, was nominated by Gov. William F. Weld '66, a former law student of Fried's.

The nomination has been endorsed by Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor and retired Justice William Brennan.

But confirmation of Fried's nomination is by no means assured; several groups hope to block him from joining the highest court in the state.


Groups protesting Fried's nomination include the newly-formed Anti-Fried Coalition: The Committee for a Just Supreme Court, the Massachusetts chapter of the National Organization for Women (NOW) and the Cambridge Tenants Union.

Each of these groups takes issue with positions they say Fried supports. Their spokespeople say they believe that Fried's confirmation would cause irreparable harm to the causes they represent.

But not everyone opposes Fried's confirmation.

His colleagues at the law school dismiss the claims made by the interest groups, saying that Fried is fully qualified and an appropriate choice for the position.


Cheryl L. Garrity, spokesperson for the Massachusetts chapter of NOW, says the group has collected thousands of signatures from people across the state in a petition against Fried's confirmation.

Garrity says Fried's positions on reproductive and civil rights indicate that he is an inappropriate candidate for the appointment.

"On the reproductive rights issue, CharlesFried supports the [Planned Parenthood v.]Casey decision which allowed the state toimpose restrictions on access to abortion,"Garrity says.

"We are opposed to that because inMassachusetts we provide greater rights than theU.S. Constitution," she says. "We feel thatreproductive rights would be threatened [byFried's appointment to the court]."

The Casey Supreme Court decision in 1992re-interpreted the ground-breaking Roe v.Wade (1973) decision which legalized abortionfor the first time. In Casey, the courtmandated a 24-hour waiting period between the timea woman approaches her doctor with the request foran abortion and the time when the operation isperformed.

Garrity also says that the group opposes Friedbecause he approves of the 1988 Rust v.Sullivan Supreme Court decision upholding agag order which prevents federally-funded clinicsfrom offering information to women seeking to haveabortions.