Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Judge John G. Roberts, New York Times, Personal as Political

While sitting back, waking up and drinking my fiber this morning, I, as I normally do, spent some time with the New York Times (hey, bloody hell, I rhymed!). According to some, such as Randi Rhodes on Air America, the New York Times is not the best place to go for news. She, however, states that the editorials are great. Me, well, until someone points out a REALLY better place to get the news which doesn’t involve the sad state of local news, I will gladly read. So send in your suggestions! Anyway, I was saying, I was reading while drinking the fiber. I had just made an appointment for my dog to go into the vet for Kennel Cough and after hanging up, there were the headlines. Between watching the shuttle launch, I am in Florida after all, my mouth frowned around a certain article concerning Judge John G. Robert and papers being released: “Some Documents of Supreme Court Choice Will Be Released” by Richard W. Stevenson, Sheryl Gay Stolberg and John M. Broder. For those of you who have a better news source and have not read this article, a little background. First, we are told, as the title suggest, that some documents concerning Roberts tenure will be released but not all documents: “The Bush administration plans to release documents from Judge John G. Roberts's tenure in the White House counsel's office in the mid-1980's and his earlier job working for the attorney general, but will not make public papers covering the four years he spent as principal deputy solicitor general starting in 1989, two senior administration officials said Monday.” Further down in the article, there is the question of a paper trail, or lack of one, concerning Roberts’s career. Especially missing are papers which would offer an insight into Robert’s philosophical views (and one would assume interrupting of laws views) on such explosive issues such as abortion. Why are some papers being held back? Well, first there is “attorney-client privilege,” which I can understand. However, isn’t there a way to release some information in those papers without running risk of exposing or damaging the client? (Just wondering out loud while sipping coffee). Next the article tells us that the “administration felt it would be wrong to release the papers from Judge Roberts's work as the No. 2 person in the solicitor general's office under Kenneth W. Starr. Those papers, which are not covered by the Presidential Records Act, record ‘sensitive, deliberative, confidential’ conversations among administration lawyers in developing legal cases for argument before the Supreme Court and therefore should not be released publicly, one of the officials said.” A different article, in the Randi Rhodes’ favorite editorial section, looked at whether Roberts might or might not have been a member of the Federalist Society: “It Depends on What 'Member' Means.” The Federalist Society is a conservative “fellowship” of lawyers and others who meet, mingle, network and, one presumes, works to push a particular agenda within their professions. Roberts does not remember ever being a member, although his name showed up, as reported by the Washington Post, in the lawyers’ division leadership directory for 1997-1998 “as a member of the steering committee of the Washington Chapter.” Ok, we are only talking about a year here. One year of possible involvement. And yet, I wonder as I finish off my coffee and get ready to take the poor pup to the vet, what is up? Some say that this year of questionable membership, again as the article says—it depends on what we mean by membership, is not important. So too is the fact that some papers are not being released in the name of “client-attorney” privileges as well as “national security.” But I for one am not happy about this at all. No, not at all. I want to know how he ‘interprets’ the law. Does he make the personal political? And if so, how does he accomplish this. If not, then fine. I just want to know. I think, as a Supreme Court nominee, who will hold a pivotal position on the court if accepted, we need disclosure! More later. I have to take the dog to the vet. --a Booga-booga

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