Carol Platt Liebau: Dems' New Line of Attack?

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Dems' New Line of Attack?

Read this piece in today's LA Times. One line gives away what I believe may be a key Dems line of attack against Judge Roberts:

Several Democrats complained that Roberts had served as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit for only two years, and therefore had a limited judicial record. As a result, they were considering requesting copies of material he wrote when he served as deputy solicitor general in the Justice Department under President George H.W. Bush.

Of course, The White House, quite rightly, would refuse to hand over such documents. They are confidential, because a practice of handing them over to partisans would prevent those working for the Justice Department from offering straightforward assessment of cases -- knowing that their words could be twisted and used against them in the future (see, e.g., this PFAW report for the kind of sloppy lies that would only be increased were confidential documents to be made available).

The problem is that Senate Republicans let the Democrats get away with this trick in the case of Miguel Estrada, who eventually withdrew his nomination, even though all seven former solicitors general noted that the Dems' tactic was unprecedented and inappropriate.

This time, of course, the Dems will be under more scrutiny. Seth Waxman and Walter Dellinger, both former solicitors general who argued for the confidentiality of documents in the Estrada case, have already supported Roberts, in his nomination to the D.C. Circuit. So the Dems may have a problem this time, at least.


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