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July 24, 2005

Teflon John

The perfect nominee for an administration that has turned dissembling and cover-ups into an art form:

President Bush’s Supreme Court nominee was a stickler for legal nuance who used a finely tuned political radar to steer officials away from entanglements on Capitol Hill, where Democrats then ruled.
… Roberts’ political instincts took charge when he alerted White House counsel Fred Fielding that an administration position in a racially sensitive Supreme Court case could rankle a political ally, a Mississippi congressman named Trent Lott.
In a case involving alleged discrimination and a church-run school, Roberts wrote in a memo dated Aug. 2, 1984, “There should be little press interest ... since we are on the side of the black parents at this point.”
Government officials had assured Lott they would not prevent the Mississippi church from having its day in court. “Just not the Supreme Court,” Lott should be told if he objects, Roberts, then 29, wrote.
In a memo from March 1984, Roberts warned an official at the White House’s Office of Management and Budget to avoid references to a touchy issue during upcoming immigration testimony.
The office should not cite the denial of visas to the widow of former Chilean President Salvador Allende and Nicaragua Interior Minister Tomas Borge, according to the memo. At the time, the Reagan administration was being criticized for denying entry to leftist foreign officials on ideological grounds.
“Those denials were, and continue to be, particularly controversial and there is no need to mention them,” Roberts wrote.

I’m with John Kerry: the hundreds of memos and other documents Roberts wrote while in the Reagan and Bush Senior administrations clearly need to be made public.

Posted by Stephen at 12:01 AM in Legal issues | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

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