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Democrats on "fishing expedition" with Roberts' nomination

Reported by Chrish - August 22, 2005

"Although the White House has now released tens of thousands of documents related to Supreme Court nominee John Roberts, Democrats complain that what's been released is not what they're looking for. So what are they looking for? Fox News Chief Washington correspondent Jim Angle reports they're trying to find a smoking gun."

So began the fair and balanced report on Special Report with Brit Hume 8/22/05.

Angle reports that the National Archive has released some 66,000 documents on Roberts, but Democrats say it's not enough. Susan Turnbull, DNC Vice Chair, says the White House has been actively stonewalling, "slow walking" requested documents from the WH and the archives. The administration of course claims they have expedited the release of all documents. The DNC isn't buying it and today filed a Freedom of Information Act request for additional doccuments.

Republicans counter that there is plenty of information already out there, just nothing that would disqualify Roberts, so Democrats are "getting desperate". Former RNC General Counsel Jan Baran said "continuing requests for documents is what we in the legal profession call a 'fishing expedition'; they're just looking for something, hoping against hope they're going to find something." Angle reports that "plenty of Democrats" (former Senator John Breaux, DINO-LA) agree that there is sufficient information already available.

According to Angle, Democrats want records of Roberts' years in the Solicitor General's office at the Department of Justice, and Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) is pressing for the release of documents in 16 key cases. The DNC wants ALL documents from 1989 through 1993, but the White House is claiming lawyer-client privilege and won't release them. John Breaux is again cited as agreeing with the White House.

Angle reports that "oddly enough, many liberal activists say they've already seen enough to know that John Roberts should not be confirmed, but they fear Democratic Senators are not yet convinced, and are hoping there's a document somewhere that might tip the scales."

Comment: Once again it is made to appear that Democrats are doing something untoward. Their requests for full documentation to be completely informed before voting on the lifetime appointment is framed as an unreasonable fishing expedition, and another common legal tactic of burying your opponent in a blizzard of bland and useless papers goes unremarked.

This administration operates under such a cloak of secrecy and is known to selectively scrub files and refuse to release information. It all gives the appearance that there is indeed something to hide, which is what prompts suspicion from leading activists. Fox facilitates the administration by portraying Roberts in a pure and positive light while subtly demonizing Dems for asking for the whole picture, dirt and all.

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