John G. Roberts, the Voice of Ronald Reagan ©

Abc_roberts_judge_050719_tWeeks ago, it was thought, John G. Roberts Jr. did not wield much power while serving as a White House lawyer in the Reagan administration. His official title was special assistant to the attorney general, William French Smith.  Surely, all his work was done on behalf of his superiors.  He, as a subordinate had little authority.  However, since early, this week, when the Reagan Library released some 5,400 pages of Roberts wrings, we discover that the earlier notion was in error. John G. Roberts Jr. was actually quite an influential force.  Roberts served as a judge, not merely a legal advisor while working with the Reagan administration.

Roberts adjudicated who could see President Ronald Reagan.  He decided when the President was available, where he would appear, and under what circumstances.  Roberts mission was to protect the President from his friends.  Roberts worked to ensure that the actor-President would not promote commercial ventures.  Roberts’ role was to save the President from himself.  There was an accepted fear the Commander-and-Chief word harm himself if he spoke spontaneously; who knew what his words might cause.

There are those that say these newly released pages do not provide insight into “who” the man behind the robes might be.  However, I disagree.  I think Roberts reveals much in his directives. His writings expose his personal belief in a caste system.  Roberts writing show that he thinks it vital to designate roles; people have societal stations. He offers snobbery and arrogance.  He sees generous gestures as dubious.

In 1983, the famous and highly favored President received a request from his longtime friend, performer Jimmy Stewart.  Stewart was often identified as “everyman.”  He chose roles that people could relate to.  It was said that James Maitland Stewart was beloved for his average guy persona.  It was said; Stewart did not put on airs.  However, where John Roberts was concerned, it may have been better if he had.

In a written correspondence, Mr. Stewart invited his chum, Ronny Reagan to serve on the advisory board for his son’s prep school.  Reagan did not receive and respond to the request directly, it went through channels.  Roberts penned his advised response.  In a curtly worded memorandum, the attorney said, the president “should not accept Stewart’s invitation.” He stated it would be “demeaning to the [President’s] office, using it as a huckster’s ploy.”  John Roberts did not consider taking the position might be viewed as a benevolent gesture.  He only thought it suspicious.  Reagan did not accept the offer.

On another occasion, Nancy and Ron were invited to an elegant social affair, a dinner. Affluent Republicans from Dallas were hosting the event; it would be held in conjunction with a ceremonial ribbon cutting.  Roberts advised against attendance; he thought the entire gala undignified.  The dinner, though separate, was connected in spirit, to the grand opening of a shopping mall.  Roberts, thought malls the setting for common folk; Presidents could not be seen in, or associated with shopping center owners.  That would be below him.

In 1985, Jerry Weintraub, chief executive of United Artists entertained a notion; he was hoping to have well known actor-director Sylvester Stallone personally present fellow and former actor, Ronald Reagan with the boxing gloves and robe worn in the newly released motion picture film “Rocky IV.” Later, the gifts would be placed in the nations’ most prestigious museum, the Smithsonian Institution.

However, Roberts thought this unwise.  Just as in earlier years, Roberts showed himself an elitist snob.  The film industry he thought to be merely a commercial venture; that this industry gave his hero a start mattered not.  In a communication addressed to his superior, White House Counsel Fred Fielding, Roberts wrote, the president should decline the offer. It “is a rather transparent publicity stunt to promote the film.”

When, in 1984, a publicist for pop-star Michael Jackson proposed Reagan publicly thank the musician for giving concert tickets to needy youngsters, Roberts raise objections, again. “I hate to sound like one of Mr. Jackson’s records, constantly repeating the same refrain, but I recommend we do not approve this letter.”  Promoting a star in any manner was loathsome to a man such as Roberts.  That Jackson man might have done a noble act was unthinkable. Even if he had, a dignified man such as Ronald Reagan, President of the United States of America need not acknowledge it.

John G. Roberts cared not whether President Reagan thought, he might want to attend an event, sponsor a cause, or help a friend; Roberts thought himself the better judge of what was right.

Ronald Reagan had advocated for Americans to support Nicaraguan expatriates.  A group of corporate executives did.  These entrepreneurs asked the President to speak to their group in 1985, and likely, he would have if left to his own devices.

However, the “judge” stopped this from happening.  Roberts wrote his warning; he stated “I recommend stopping any White House involvement in this effort,” Roberts advised the president should not participate in private fundraising.  Raising capital was for the unabashed.  It was a shameless and brazen venture, certainly not worthy of a President.

Roberts did not only express disdain for acts of public promotion; he scorned the rights of women professionally.  This topic will be addressed in a separate study.  As a prelude, please read Nominee’s Memos Critical of Gender-Equality Efforts, by David G. Savage, of the Los Angeles Times.  You might also peruse, As Reagan lawyer, Roberts disparaged efforts to combat discrimination against women, by David Esposo, of The Associated Press.

John G. Roberts’ did not merely advise the President on his social calendar.  Roberts monitored Reagan’s speech.

In 1984, Ronny was set to speak.  He was prepared to conclude his monologue with the words, “the greatest nation God ever created.”  Roberts rejected the phrase, not on legal grounds, instead on religious “rights.”  Legal advisor Roberts offered, these words would be “ill-advised and, particularly in the light of the focus on the religion and politics issue, a likely candidate for the ‘Reaganism of the Week.’ “Roberts reeled with authority, “According to Genesis, God creates things like the heavens and the earth, and the birds and fishes, but not nations.”

John G. Roberts was a Reagan man; he watched his back, front, and supported his ideology.  For me, these Reagan files say much of the man, his morals, and personal beliefs.  Roberts, I think, said it all in his letter of resignation.  The jurist wrote to his hero Ronald Regan, “My years in your service will always be very special to me. The inspiration you have given me will burn brightly in my heart long after I have left the lights of the White House behind.”

If the Senate wants to know if Judge John G. Roberts is an ideologue, after reviewing his writings during the Reagan years, they can know with certainty, he is.  His moral commitment and personal opinions are reflected loudly in these writings.  Clearly, Roberts concludes, there is a “right” way, and a wrong one.  There is a ruling class and a group of commoners; those in one must never meet or mingle with the other.  I believe Roberts is as Roberts does, and that, for me, is frightening.

If you prefer to read periodical references directly, please read . . .

Nominee’s Memos Critical of Gender-Equality Efforts, By David G. Savage, of the Los Angeles Times.

Files Detail Roberts’s Reagan Years, By Jess Bravin and Jeanne Cummings, of the Wall Street Journal.

Reagan Files Paint Court Nominee as a Watchdog By David G. Savage, Richard Simon and Henry Weinstein, of the Los Angeles Times.

White House required prolific pen, By Michael Martinez and Vincent J. Schodolski, of The Chicago Tribune.

You might enjoy reading more.  Brad DeLong writes on, John Roberts’s Judicial Temperament

Roberts Record, Flood of Files, Awash With What Is Missing ©

Senate Democrats are demanding access to more of John G. Roberts’ writings.  Before they approve the Supreme Court nominee, they wish to know who is this man.  However, information is inaccessible.  The Whitehouse refuses to supply it.  Filibuster is the form that the administration is adopting. The Whitehouse states it has accommodated requests for papers; they have saturated Senate offices with 15,000 pages of text.  These folios document Roberts’ service during the early Reagan years.  Some say, shifting through these sheets of paper is as reading tealeaves; there is much roughage and little of it advances a message.

Senator Patrick Leahy wonders; is the Whitehouse, “flooding us with stacks of really unimportant materials in order to divert attention from those that the matter most.”  One never knows; however, we can surmise.

The documents that were delivered are old. They date back to 1980 -1981.  In these years, Roberts served as a special assistant to Attorney General, William French Smith.  In this position, his power was limited.  His personal and moral views were, rarely, if ever visible. Roberts worked for the Attorney General. The views he expressed were not his own, they were those of his superior.  Therefore, pages from these years reveal little of the man.

The documents from more recent years, those that the Whitehouse states are “secret,” are thought to be of greater importance.  Senators believe the latter pages will divulge more about the man.  The administration argues, these documents do not necessarily offer Roberts’ personal views. Some in the beltway say this stance is the “crown jewel of attorney client privilege.”

In 1989, and through 1993, the ethical and private views of John Roberts were expressed in his work and writings.  During these years, Roberts served as Principal Deputy Solicitor General of the United States.  Roberts worked in the Bush senior Whitehouse.

In this position John G. Roberts personally argued cases on behalf of the United States government.  He formulated opinions and helped to determine when the government would appeal adverse decisions.  Roberts was able to speak for himself in this office.  Access to the pages he generated while holding this post would be quite illuminating, if only this information was available. Thus far, it remains illusive!  The Whitehouse refuses to make these more recent writings public.

There is much that remains private about Supreme Court nominee, John G. Roberts.  The candidate is scripted and encrypted.  Since President George W. Bush recommended the polished, polite, and prominent Harvard-trained attorney, he has traveled from Senate office to Senate office.  Roberts smiles and shakes hands.  He says all the “right” things, and yet, he says nothing!  He is afforded the luxury of “looking good on paper,” at least on the papers that are offered.  However, there are so many pages that are locked and sealed.  Senators and the public alike wonder; how might this man appear on these hidden pages?

There are questions about where Judge Roberts stands on a range of issues.  The most prominent concern is abortion. There is much discussion about the discrepancy of opinions Roberts stated on Roe v. Wade.  Does he consider it “settled law,” or was the decision “wrong”?

When a reporter asked of this inconsistency during a recent meet-and-greet session with Senator Dianne Feinstein [Democrat, California], Judge Roberts smiled.  However, noticeably, he did not reply.  Feinstein looked on quizzically and then interjected, “I don’t think he wants to take any questions.” Roberts added to the Senator’s assessment “No, no, no thanks.”

Senators and the public assess, the nominee speaks on little.  What the Senators know is limited.  What public knows is this.

[The source for the following is On the Issues.  For greater details, please travel to this resource.]

John Roberts On Abortion

• Wife is strongly pro-life. (July 2005)
• Candidate finds no support for abortion rights in Constitution. (July 2005)
• Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided. (July 2005)
• Prohibit family-planning programs from giving abortion info. (July 2005)
• Approves of Operation Rescue targeting abortion clinics. (July 2005)
• Roe v. Wade is settled law. (July 2005)
• Doctors receiving federal funds may not mention abortion to patients. (July 2005)
• Limit funding for abortion clinics. (February 2003)
John Roberts On Budget & Economy

• No stance on record.
John Roberts On Civil Rights

• No paper trail on gay rights issues. (July 2005)

• Approves of religious groups meeting in schools. (July 2005)
• Opposed simplifying complaints against voting rights. (July 2005)
• Weaken the separation of church and state. (July 2005)
• Against Affirmative Action. (February 2003)
• Should make secret settlements in some cases. (January 2003)

John Roberts On Corporations

• Whistleblowers can be fired for cause. (November 2004)
John Roberts On Crime

• Approves of prosecuting persons for eating French fries on city trains. (February 2005)
• Guidelines for parole cannot add to sentence retroactively. (November 2004)
• Police supervisors not liable for misdeeds of officers. (April 2004)
John Roberts On Drugs

• Approves of searching cars without particular evidence in mind. (July 2005)
• Judges cannot overrule guidelines even if unjust. (October 2004)
John Roberts On Education

• No stance on record.
John Roberts On Energy and Oil

• Public committees need not disclose documents. (January 2004)
• Approves of keeping Cheney’s energy task force secret. (September 2003)
John Roberts On Environment

• Allow development despite local endangered species. (July 2005)
• No lawsuits to prevent mining on federal land. (July 2005)
• Federal law does not protect species within one state. (July 2005)
John Roberts On Families & Children

• No stance on record.
John Roberts On Foreign Policy

• No stance on record.
John Roberts On Free Trade

• No stance on record.
John Roberts On Government Reform

• Disabled people can sue government for discrimination. (February 2005)
• Approves of extending time limits for those wishing to sue lawyers for malpractice. (June 2004)
• The Federal Government enjoys sovereign immunity. (January 2003)
John Roberts On Health Care

• No stance on record.
John Roberts On Homeland Security

• Military tribunals for terrorists are valid and just. (July 2005)
• Bar veterans from suing the new Iraqi government. (February 2005)
John Roberts On Immigration

• No stance on record.
John Roberts On Jobs

• Union activists can organize outside of employment place. (July 2005)
John Roberts On Principles & Values

• Opponents will fight to hear these; however, they will hear Roberts’ issue stances. (July 2005)
• Volunteer adviser to Bush in 2000 Florida post-election. (July 2005)
• Adopted two children. (July 2005)
• Public service history precludes “stealth candidate” label. (July 2005)
• An establishment lawyer, with no all-encompassing philosophy. (July 2005)
• Reliable conservative and perfect judicial temperament. (February 2005)
• Positions a lawyer presents do not have to be his own beliefs. (January 2003)
• There are certain areas where literalism does not work. (January 2003)
• There is a right answer in every court case. (January 2003)
John Roberts On Social Security

• No stance on record.
John Roberts On Tax Reform

• No stance on record.
John Roberts On War & Peace

• As student during Vietnam, Roberts was disturbed by anti-war protests. (February 2005)
John Roberts On Welfare & Poverty

• Defended welfare recipients from losing benefits, pro-bono. (July 2005)
Again, the President is the shrewd.  He knowingly chose a candidate with no real paper trail, a man whose credentials are impeccable.  Mr. Bush chose white, “right”, polite, and polished.  John G. Roberts is prominent, posed, and possibly, invincible.  Few doubt there will be any votes against this well-known unknown.

Please read Washington Post, Few Have Felt Beat of Roberts’s Political Heart, by Michael Grunwald and Amy Goldstein

If you, dear reader can reveal more, please do, tell us what you know.  Please, share with your Senators!  Though this Whitehouse is entrenched in secrecy, there are others that believe in freedom and democracy.  I recall the days when . . .

• Since the initial writing of this post,  Voices of dissent are speaking. Senator Edward Kennedy accused Roberts, of having a questionable commitment to civil rights.  Former Democratic senator and vice presidential candidate John Edwards also criticized the Supreme Court nominee.  Edwards stated he is “a partisan for conservative causes.”  However, for the most part, the consensus remains.  Most Democrats state the candidate is “outstanding”.  They trust he will not be a “conservative activist jurist.”  Sadly, we are likely to see.

Update:  You might enjoy reading more.  Brad DeLong writes on, John Roberts’s Judicial Temperament

Double Pleasure, Fun, and Standards. John G. Roberts and Wife ©

I recall the 1992 Presidential elections, vividly.  Beginning in 1991 with the primaries, continuing into the campaign, and later, even after the votes were counted, the press and public expressed great concern.  They stated it openly, frequently, and loudly.  There was apprehension.  The potential First Lady, Hillary Rodham Clinton was considered an activist, well educated, intelligent, and a professional woman.

The accepted image of a First Lady differed from the public impression of Mrs. Clinton.  Former First Lady’s were thought to be demure; they appeared to sit silently by their husband’s side.  They were content be courteous.  They needed nothing more.  Many doubts were expressed about Hillary.  It was believed that she would not be well suited for the position of First Lady.  Numerous persons predicted Mrs. Clinton would serve as a second president; they were certain she would.  For years, the clamor continued.  Remember the health care commission.

Yet today, when asked of the activist, professional life of Jane Marie Sullivan Roberts, wife of Supreme Court nominee John G. Roberts, United States Attorney General, Alberto Gonzales stated strongly, inquiries into her life are off limits.  The Attorney General was interviewed on CBS’s, Face The Nation.

• Please read this recent release, Confirmation Path May Run Through Florida.  Jeb Bush spokesman Jacob DiPietre told the Los Angeles Times, “Judge Roberts was one of several experts who came to Florida to share their ideas. The governor appreciated his willingness to serve and valued his counsel.”  The now President appreciated his service as well.

When Gonzales was asked if it is suitable for the Senators to ask of Roberts’ wife, Gonzales deferred to Senator Ted Kennedy, [imagine that] stating the Senator said it best; the wives views and positions should not play a factor in this discussion.  Gonzales declared, the activities and attitudes of Mrs. Roberts need not be questioned.  Certainly, the nominee should not be asked about her work with the anti-abortion activist organization “Feminists for Life.”

Journalist, Robert [Bob] Schieffer then reminded Gonzales, of his earlier statements, “You do not want to put someone before the court that has a secret or private agenda.”  Therefore, is it not fair to ask Judge Roberts his views on abortion?  Though this question was posed separately, the belief that a wife might influence her husband, in this case, the Judge Roberts was implied.  There is much speculation within the beltway, possibly, probably, the two share attitudes.  Therefore, questions pertaining to her activities might be pertinent.

Gonzales retorted in return; “Are you asking of his personal views  . . . his moral views . . . would he overturn Roe v. Wade?”  Gonzales avowed, asking of these is not relevant to the decision or debate.  Gonzales maintains, “We expect our judges to put aside their own moral views or judgments and simply apply the law.”

Hours earlier on Meet The Press, Tim Russert, interviewed former Senator Fred Thompson (Republican-Tennessee).  The two discussed the upcoming judicial hearings and the Senator voiced his view; asking Supreme Court nominee John Roberts of his opinions “is inappropriate.”  On the subject of Jane Sullivan Roberts, Thompson said, she is not the nominee.

Later in the program, during a panel discussion the same topics, were broached.  Reporters deliberated on abortion and lawyer, Mrs. Jane Roberts.  Journalist William Safire, of the New York Times, offered his thoughts.  John G. Roberts will be facing a “murder board;” he will be asked the toughest questions possible.  Yet, Safire expressed, the candidate cannot [ethically] be asked of his wife’s work.

Nina Totenberg, of National Public Radio, agreed.  “No one will speak “publicly” of John G. Roberts’ wife.” Ms. Totenberg acknowledged that they might think of the possible bond between husband and wife; however, the Senators on the Judicial Committee will be facing re-election soon; they want to get re-elected.  Asking of the nominee’s wife might hurt their chances.  Therefore, they will not travel down that road.

Yet, everyone, everywhere acknowledges abortion is possibly the most important issue that will come before the Supreme Court.  This subject causes greater controversy than all others. In evaluating this Judge, or any Judge for the Supreme Court, Senators will want to know where he, or she, stands on this issue.

In the past, Judge Roberts has expressed questionable and contrary views on this topic.  He publicly stated that he believes Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided.  He later relented it is established law.  It is well known that in his earlier positions, Judge Roberts did not have the power to change what was and is.  Yet, if approved, he would have this authority.  In such an esteemed position, as a Supreme Court Justice, his personal philosophy could be relevant.  His ruling could over-turn the decision.

There is an old adage; one accepted as truth, “there is a woman behind every successful man.”  George W. Bush admits this.  He often credits his own victories to his wife.  While there are those that say, John G. Roberts is not running for President of the United States, and therefore, his appointment will not give him the authority that the President has, others argue it will.  In actuality, some say, he will be more influential.  After all, a Supreme Court Justice is given a lifetime appointment; a President can only reign for four, possibly eight years.  There are those that believe the attitudes and activities of spouse are a strong consideration.

However, in this the eras of conservative rule double standards are the norm. Etiquette is an evolving art.  A Democrat running for President can and will be questioned of his wife; a Republican “campaigning” for a lifetime appointment cannot be asked of anything that touches a nerve.  Well, he can be asked; however, he need not answer.  Roberts need not worry.  No one will claim that his selection will bring double pleasure, double fun, only an acceptable double standard.

Please consider John Roberts’ rule: Reach for the top, This is an assessment of the nominee by Tim Jones, Andrew Zajac and Andrew Martin, Chicago Tribune national correspondents.

It gets worse.  Please read and reflect upon, What Is The Bush White House Trying To Hide On Roberts’ Time Working For Poppy? by Steve Soto, The Left Coaster.  This July 26, 2005, treatise is quite enlightening.