Patterico's Pontifications


Give Us the Memos!

Filed under: Judiciary — Patterico @ 1:59 pm

You might be surprised to hear me say this, but the recent confirmation hearings of Judge John Roberts to become Chief Justice of the United States were seriously hampered by the public’s inability to view certain confidential memos that were crucial to the hearings.

These memos are apparently being withheld on the grounds that they involve confidential communications that deserve protection as a matter of public policy. But this argument is clearly disingenuous, as each withheld memo is simply a reflection of the deliberative processes of someone representing the United States.

The limited information that is already publicly available strongly suggests that these memos are being withheld because they contain embarrassing revelations. That is simply unacceptable, and I call on my readers to demand that these memos be released immediately — preferably before the vote on John Roberts’s nomination.

Again, this may seem surprising, but I’m dead serious about this.

I’m speaking, of course, of the memos written by Senate staffers to Democrat Senators on the Judiciary Committee.

I hope you didn’t think I was talking about John Roberts’s Solicitor General memos. It’s very unlikely that there’s anything in those memos that would be of concern to any fair-minded person considering Roberts’s nomination.

But the staffers’ memos are a different story. I have already reported that Democrat staffer memos that came to light in 2003 contained all sorts of damning information on the true partisan motivations of Democrat Senators. They revealed the extent to which those Senators are in the pocket of the special interest groups.

For example, as I described here, one memo claimed that “most of Bush’s nominees are nazis,” and another noted that certain civil rights organizations “would like to postpone actions on these nominees until next year, when (presumably) the public will be more tolerant of partisan dissent.” And, as I described here, another memo described a meeting with liberal interest groups, and made reference to Miguel Estrada’s Latino ethnicity as a reason to be concerned about him:

The groups singled out three–Jeffrey Sutton (6th Circuit); Priscilla Owen (5th Circuit); and Caroline [sic] Kuhl (9th Circuit)–as a potential nominee for a contentious hearing early next year, with a [sic] eye to voting him or her down in Committee. They also identified Miguel Estrada (D.C. Circuit) as especially dangerous, because he has a minimal paper trail, he is Latino, and the White House seems to be grooming him for a Supreme Court appointment. They want to hold Estrada off as long as possible.

If previous memos had this much gold in them, imagine what private memos over Supreme Court nominees would say.

Sure, some carping liberals might say that these hearings are supposed to be about Roberts’s qualifications, not the Senators’. But the hearings were really more about the Senators’ views than Roberts’s anyway . . . who did more talking, after all? In any event, I am sure that when the relevant issue really is the Senators’ qualifications — such as when they stand for re-election — they will be happy to share their private memos regarding the Roberts nomination.

The American people deserve nothing less.

13 Responses to “Give Us the Memos!”

  1. Unfortunately, the American people wouldn’t care. They didn’t care about the memos that did get out, and the press gave them cover. The press would do so again if your fondest wish came true, and somehow it would be the Republican’s fault.

    The Democrats looked foolish in front of all the cameras CSPAN could jam in there – but if you ask most Americans what they think about the Roberts hearings, they’ll say “I think steroids in baseball is just plain wrong.”

    Glenn (678a4b)

  2. I’ll give you credit for a good hook, stopping the front page story at the point you did!

    Unfortunately, I think that Glenn is right: if everything for which you’ve asked came out, it would make just as much difference as Cindy Sheehan writing on Michael Morre’s website that President Bush ought to remove “his self” from office, which is to say, none at all. The people who would be concerned about idiotic memos on the part of Democratic staffers are already on our side, and the ones on the left will just nod their heads in agreement; no one else will pay attention at all.

    Dana R. Pico (a9eb8b)

  3. Someone’s zoning in on your brainwaves and not limiting it to just the staff memos.

    Conservative strategists are drafting a letter to Democratic members of the Senate Judiciary Committee demanding the release of hundreds of internal memos detailing contacts between the lawmakers and liberal interest groups opposing John Roberts’s nomination to the Supreme Court.

    More good timing since even Dick Durbin, Don Quixote to Paris Hilton’s Dulcinea, thinks someone should go to jail over the memos — although I’ll bet he has a different list of suspects.

    Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., interrupted the Judiciary Committee’s somber discussion of constitutional matters with the suggestion that a recent case involving the hotel heiress should serve as a precedent for protecting the Senate panel’s stolen records.


    “I asked the attorney general to please ask our special counsel in this case to take a look at the precedent of the Paris Hilton case and see if he can perhaps protect our records as much as we want to protect that poor young lady’s telephone records,” Durbin said at the hearing.

    capitano (f6cfb0)

  4. Patterico:

    The Democratic Party needs to find a Democratic George W. Bush; but the Senate Republicans need to find a Republican Lyndon B. Johnson.


    Dafydd (f8a7be)

  5. Democrats Petitioned to Release Roberts Hearing Memos

    According to STOP THE ACLU and Patterico’s Pontifications, some conservative strategists are drafting a letter to Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee, demanding no less than the release of internal memos. Said memos apparently detail co…

    TMH's Bacon Bits (43a784)

  6. […] The American people deserve nothing less. from […]

    The Baltimore Reporter (27f858)

  7. […] Hat tip to Patterico’s Ponifications […]

    The Wide Awakes » Give Us The Memos (a936fc)

  8. “I’m speaking, of course, of the memos written by Senate staffers to Democrat Senators on the Judiciary Committee.”

    You spent too much time setting up a weak punch line.

    [Thank you! I’m here all week! — P]

    actus (9982e6)

  9. It is possible for you to be wrong. In this case you are.

    Frank McCollum (93b647)

  10. Who, Frank? Actus, or me? If me, what about?

    Patterico (4c8f96)

  11. Re: #2

    Pico’s right. There are no moderates in this confirmation fight, or any other of the several disputes which arise between elections. All combatants are full-on partisans, MSM included.

    While there are still a few “undecided voters” left around who get involved a few days before election day, largely the lines are already drawn, the order of battle is set, and the vanguard is already engaged.

    Facts will have little effect on opinions, holding the high ground is imperative, and no quarter will be offered by the Left, they will celebrate as they shoot the wounded. Also, since this is a civil war, there can be no winners, only survivors.

    The Roberts nomination is only a prelim, the main event comes a little later. Get ready.

    Black Jack (ee9fe2)

  12. Black Jack said:

    Pico’s right.

    Well, that’s always the case! 🙂

    Dana R. Pico (a071ac)

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