Monday, August 8, 2005

During next month’s Senate confirmation hearings over John G. Roberts, it’s unlikely that we’ll hear about the Supreme Court nominee’s adopted children — Josie and Jack, aged 5 and 4, respectively. Unfortunately, that’s only because The New York Times decided not to pursue the matter “after initial inquiries, which detected nothing irregular about the adoptions,” according to a statement from a Times editor. Evidently, the Grey Lady’s braintrust reasoned that the Roberts children’s story might somehow help senators decide if Mr. Roberts was fit for the bench. But since “nothing irregular” arose, it looks as if the Senate will have to fall back on less pertinent issues like Mr. Roberts’ judicial qualifications.

Had not The Drudge Report revealed last week what the Times was up to, it’s conceivable that the “paper of record” would have gone ahead with its investigation. Fox News reported that the Times had been seeking advice from lawyers who specialize in adoption cases on how to get access to sealed court records. For denunciations, we can’t beat what the non-partisan National Council For Adoption had to say in a statement: “The adoption histories of four- and five-year old children have no bearing whatsoever on the suitability of Justice Roberts to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court — or in any other position, for that matter.”

By now it’s becoming clear that the liberal media’s crusade to tarnish Mr. Roberts is falling short. Several outlets have picked up on his link to the Federalist Society, a group of conservative-minded legal professionals and law students. The White House and Mr. Roberts deny that he has any formal association with the organization — not that it would matter if he did.

Perhaps because it doesn’t release membership rolls, the press has decided the Federalist Society is to be regarded with suspicion. The Los Angeles Times hilariously dubbed it a “somewhat secretive group.” The Washington Post meanwhile quoted a law professor as saying, “What matters is whether [Mr. Roberts] hung out with [Federalist Society members] and not whether he signed the form or wrote the dues check … What’s important is the intellectual immersion.” Strangely, few have noticed that this amounts to what the left usually refers to as “McCarthyism.” The New York Times actually saw fit to excerpt from a post on a left-wing Web site,, which called the group “the conservative cabal that is attacking America from within,” as if an anonymous writer on an extremely partisan site is a plausible source of objective reporting.

This is thin stuff on which to base opposition to the Roberts nomination. If the Times has been reduced to digging up adoption records and quoting from the fever swamps, we can probably expect a swift confirmation.

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