- The Washington Times - Monday, August 1, 2005

Sigh of relief

“Whatever is to be said, as the [Wall Street] Journal’s editorial page did [Thursday], about whether the White House blundered in volunteering 75,000 pages of John Roberts’ work product from his years in the Reagan administration, one sentiment is widely shared among conservatives: What a relief. Judge Roberts’s writings as a young lawyer show him to be a solid constitutionalist,” Manuel Miranda wrote at www.OpinionJournal.com.

“Beyond the attributes of character, temperament and credentials, George Washington singled out one criterion for the first Supreme Court justices: that they support the ‘new’ Constitution. Powerful voices like Thomas Jefferson, who, lucky for us, was in Paris during the Constitutional Convention, would have drafted and interpreted the Constitution quite differently than the Federalists whom Washington picked for the high court. Adherence to the Constitution matters no less now,” Mr. Miranda said.

“George Washington would have been happy with John Roberts. Of the documents released this [past] week, my favorite is his response to the House Democrat who proposed that the White House and Congress hold a ‘conference on power-sharing’ to iron out the duties of each branch. Said then-Mr. Roberts: ‘There already has, of course, been a Conference on Power Sharing. It took place in Philadelphia’s Constitution Hall in 1787.’ … If this is an indication of the nominee’s wit and clear-headedness, move over [Justice Antonin] Scalia.

“The decision to release the Reagan documents, however, is likely to come back to bite the White House. Specifically, it makes it more difficult to hold the line on its refusal to release papers from the solicitor general’s office, where Judge Roberts worked during the administration of George H.W. Bush.”

Document request

Sen. Charles Schumer of New York has led the charge for Senate Democrats … in demanding the release of thousands of pages of highly confidential internal executive branch memos written by Supreme Court nominee John Roberts when he worked as a deputy solicitor general in the first Bush administration,” Steven G. Calabresi writes at the Weekly Standard’s Web site (www.weeklystandard.com).

“These document requests are unprecedented in their nature and scope and call on the Bush administration to waive executive privilege and attorney-client privilege to a degree that no other administration has ever previously been asked to do,” said Mr. Calabresi, a law professor at Northwestern University.

“Republicans are skeptical of the Schumer request and suspect the senator is on a fishing expedition to try to dig up something with which to oppose the hitherto unassailable Roberts nomination. Republicans have solid reason to suspect Schumer of this, since he was overheard saying on a cell phone that he was going to go to war against whoever the president nominated before Roberts was even nominated.

“Evaluation of whether Schumer is or is not on a fishing expedition is impossible given the public record as it stands now. Accordingly, Senate Republicans and the administration should call on Senator Schumer to immediately release and make public all conversations and e-mails between the senator and his staff, between Schumer staffers and outside left-wing advocacy groups, and between Schumer staffers themselves relating to the Roberts nomination. Schumer should also be required to release phone records of all telephone and cell phone calls that were placed between his office and outside advocacy groups since the Roberts nomination.”

Recess decision

John R. Bolton is “exactly what the U.N. needs at this point,” Sen. Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, said yesterday on “Fox News Sunday.”

The Senate adjourned for its summer recess Friday, and President Bush appears ready to make a recess appointment, bypassing the Senate, where Democrats have been filibustering the nomination for months.

A recess appointment would allow Mr. Bolton to serve until a new Congress convenes in January 2007.

Asked about Democratic lawmakers’ opposition to Mr. Bolton’s nomination, Mr. McConnell said, “Typically, senators who are not of the party of the president don’t like recess appointments.

“Bolton’s exactly what the U.N. needs at this point. The president’s right on the mark in picking him,” Mr. McConnell said.

Interviewed on the same program, Sen. Christopher J. Dodd, Connecticut Democrat and a leader of the effort to stop the Bolton appointment, urged Mr. Bush to avoid a recess appointment.

“I would hope the president would think a little longer about this from his perspective. [Mr. Bolton’s] damaged goods. This is a person who lacks credibility,” Mr. Dodd said.

Carter’s complaint

Former President Jimmy Carter said Saturday that the detention of terror suspects at the Guantanamo Bay naval base in Cuba was an embarrassment and had given extremists an excuse to attack the United States.

Mr. Carter also criticized the U.S.-led war in Iraq as “unnecessary and unjust,” the Associated Press reports.

“I think what’s going on in Guantanamo Bay and other places is a disgrace to the USA.,” he told a press conference at the Baptist World Alliance’s centenary conference in Birmingham, England. “I wouldn’t say it’s the cause of terrorism, but it has given impetus and excuses to potential terrorists to lash out at our country and justify their despicable acts.”

Mr. Carter said, however, that terrorist acts could not be justified, and that although Guantanamo “may be an aggravating factor … it’s not the basis of terrorism.”

He added, “What has happened at Guantanamo Bay … does not represent the will of the American people. I’m embarrassed about it; I think it’s wrong. I think it does give terrorists an unwarranted excuse to use the despicable means to hurt innocent people.”

Luring ad guys

“Looks like the 2008 presidential race is going to be an all-out war if the early fight over ad consultants is any signal,” Paul Bedard writes in the Washington Whispers column of U.S. News & World Report.

“The political pros tell us that Sens. John McCain, Bill Frist and George Allen are way out front in luring top ad guys to their efforts with all three trying to win over Bush advisers. McCain seems to have scored first, getting Mark McKinnon on his team. Insiders say that Allen is especially keen on signing up conservative consultants,” Mr. Bedard said.

Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or gpierce@washingtontimes.com.

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