- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 20, 2005

As a young White House lawyer, Supreme Court nominee John G. Roberts Jr. cautioned against allowing President Reagan to say the United States was “the greatest nation God ever created,” saying he feared it would lead to political ridicule.

In an Oct. 11, 1984, memo, Judge Roberts wrote that according to the biblical book of Genesis, “God creates things like the heavens and the earth, and the birds and the fishes, but not nations.

“The phrase strikes me as ill-advised and, particularly in light of the focus on the religion and politics issue, a likely candidate for the ‘Reaganism of the Week,’ ” he wrote White House counsel Fred Fielding, his boss at the time.

Judge Roberts wrote his memo after reviewing remarks proposed for Mr. Reagan to make in a trip to Greenville, S.C., during his successful 1984 re-election campaign.

The memo was included in more than 50,000 pages of Reagan-era records released earlier this week, documents that show Judge Roberts was a staunch defender of the conservative policies of the Reagan administration and a surprising critic of then-Chief Justice Warren Burger.

Judge Roberts, nominated by President Bush to replace retiring Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, thought little of Justice Burger’s idea to add an additional court to the federal judiciary to help relieve the high court’s workload.

“While some of the tales of woe emanating from the Court are enough to bring tears to the eyes, it is true that only Supreme Court justices and schoolchildren are expected to and do take the entire summer off,” Judge Roberts wrote on April 19, 1983, in a memo to his boss, Fred Fielding, the White House counsel.

He went on to say: “The generally accepted notion that the Court can only hear roughly 150 cases a year gives the same sense of reassurance as the adjournment of the court in July, when we know the Constitution is safe for the summer.”

The memo and other materials made public Thursday by the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif., and the National Archives completed the disclosure of more than 50,000 pages that cover Judge Roberts’ tenure as a lawyer in the White House counsel’s office from 1982 to 1986.

Nearly 2,000 more pages from the same period have been withheld on national security or privacy grounds.

Additionally, over the persistent protests of Senate Democrats, the White House has refused to make available any of the records covering Judge Roberts’ later tenure as principal deputy solicitor general during the administration of the first President Bush.

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