July 25, 2005
Supreme Court nominee John Roberts declined Monday to say why he was listed in a leadership directory of the Federalist Society and the White House said he has no recollection of belonging to the conservative group.Democratic Senators are already making noises about demanding that the White House release all of Roberts' writings. The White House, so far, has indicated that no such release is forthcoming.
The question of Roberts' membership in the society Â— an influential organization of conservative lawyers and judges formed in the early 1980s to combat what its members said was growing liberalism on the bench Â— emerged as a vexing issue at the start of another week of meetings for President Bush's nominee on Capitol Hill.
The Senate Judiciary Committee has yet to ask for such material for its hearings. But some Democrats, including Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts, have urged the White House to release "in their entirety" any documents written by Roberts.Though no one on the Democratic side of the Senate has formally indicated an intent to filibuster Roberts' nomination, the continued carping from the usual suspects hints at a possible power-play by some liberals as the hearings begin in earnest.
Citing privacy and precedent, Fred D. Thompson, the former Tennessee senator guiding Roberts through the process on behalf of the White House, said Sunday the Bush administration does not intend to release everything.
Material that would come under attorney-client privilege would be withheld, Thompson said, calling it a principle followed by previous presidents of both political parties.
"We hope we don't get into a situation where documents are asked for that folks know will not be forthcoming and we get all hung up on that," Thompson told NBC's "Meet the Press."
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