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Roberts Refuses To Discuss Rightwing Connections

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Roberts Refuses To Discuss Rightwing Connections

by Doreen Brandt 365Gay.com Washington Bureau

Posted: July 25, 2005 9:00 pm ET

(Washington) President Bush's nominee for the Supreme Court declined to answer questions Monday about his reported connection to the Federalist Society - a far right legal organization.

During a photo-op prior to a meeting with Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) John Roberts was asked by a reporter about the group.

He smiled politely but did not reply.

"I don't think he wants to take any questions," Feinstein interjected.

"No, no, no thanks," Roberts then said.

A briefing note on Roberts distributed by liberal groups immediately following his nomination identified him as appearing on a 1997-98 Federalist Society leadership directory as being a member of the steering committee in the group's Washington chapter. At the time Roberts was a partner in a private law firm.

The White House says Roberts does not recall being a member of the organization.

A statement on the Federalist Society's Web site by its president, John B. Meyer says, "The Federalist Society has a longstanding practice of not disclosing our dues-paying membership rolls out of respect for the privacy of our members."

A conservative and longtime Republican, Roberts served as Deputy Solicitor General. In 1990, he argued in favor of a government regulation that banned abortion-related counseling by federally-funded family planning programs. His brief top the court contained a note that the Bush administration's belief that Roe v. Wade should be overruled.

Roberts currently sits on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. He was appointed to that position in 2003 by President Bush.

There is no record of his ruling on any LGBT issue, but gay civil rights groups have expressed concern about his nomination. (story)

Democrats are seeking documents Roberts may have authored while working for Presidents Regan and Bush.

Citing privacy and precedent, Fred D. Thompson, the former Tennessee senator guiding Roberts through the process on behalf of the White House, says the Bush administration does not intend to release everything.

Material that would come under attorney-client privilege would be withheld, Thompson said.

©365Gay.com 2005

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