Mysterious Roberts 

If John Roberts is such a good nominee for the Supreme Court, why are he and the White House and his Senate handlers being so secretive about his beliefs and affiliations? What have they got to hide? The Federalist Society, for one thing. Roberts didn’t own up to a Federalist Society connection until somebody discovered that the group’s 1997-98 “Leadership Directory” listed him as a member of its steering committee in Washington. Confronted with evidence that he’d not only belonged to the Federalist Society but held high rank, he said he’d forgotten. (Sounds like some of our parole-seeking criminals who “honestly can’t remember” how those bullets got from a gun they were holding into the body of a liquor store clerk. It’s not that they honestly can’t remember, it’s that they honestly don’t want to admit.) The Federalist Society is an extreme right-wing group, the Ku Klux Klan of legal societies, funded by arch-conservative millionaires like Richard Mellon Scaife, the Pennsylvania weirdo who also financed much of the “Get Clinton” campaign. The Society is committed to the principle that people have too many rights. Especially people who aren’t white, male and Christian. The administration has refused to release documents from Roberts’ work as principal deputy solicitor general during the administration of the first President Bush, claiming attorney-client privilege. Some nerve. We, the taxpayers, were his clients, and we have a right to know what he was doing in our name. Roberts himself apparently is going along with this stonewalling because he knows that some of the documents, if made public, would put him in a bad light. Which is why they should be made public. Roberts’ boss at the time was the sinister Kenneth Starr, who would later become a principal ally of Scaife in the rich man’s war on Clinton. As a special prosecutor in the Whitewater affair, Starr won a federal court decision that presidential lawyers work for the people of the United States, not the president. Could something worthwhile have come from Starr’s hateful, wasteful investigation of a president whose crime was belonging to the wrong party? If the decision helps shake loose Roberts’ records, we might have to say “yes.” We never thought we would. Still in the interest of full disclosure, senators should ask Roberts in public if he would recuse from a case in which the law required a ruling offensive to the Catholic Church. Supposedly he’s answered affirmatively in private. It’s not religious bias to ask. There are three Catholic justices now — Scalia, Thomas and Kennedy — and two of them, Scalia and Thomas, are the most radical members of the court. Scalia has all but said that religious beliefs trump constitutional requirements — the opposite of what the Founders had in mind.

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