| As a direct result of the John G.
Roberts nomination to the US Supreme Court, the Ronald Reagan Presidential
Library has released boxes of documents containing the writings of Mr. Roberts.
Radio talk show host Hugh
Hewitt has undertaken a project to review the contents of the documents to
discover if anything significant will be revealed.. To accomplish this,
Mr. Hewitt as has
asked internet bloggers to assist by reviewing the content of the boxes. While
Boycott Watch does not specifically classify itself as a blog, we do
investigate reports of consumer actions in the search for truth and we then
publish our results in a non-partisan manner. Some may consider it a blog, but
that is for you to decide. As such, Boycott Watch fulfills the goals of the
document review request and we asked to be a part of the project.
Boycott Watch was assigned box 11, titled "Box 11 -
JGR/Conflicts Of Interest (2) - Roberts, John G.: Files SERIES I: "
Subject File and our summary follows.
In this document, Mr. Roberts discusses the results
of the new Ethics in Government law five months after it was enacted, and
reviews it in light of major ethical dilemmas such as Watergate, with
consideration of the governments' ability to try and hire people who have
perfect ethical backgrounds. The documents in this collection include
presentation notes, a memorandum Mr. Roberts revised regarding ethics with an
associated memorandum from the US Office on Government Ethics, and a magazine
article. This collection does not contain any detailed opinions by Mr. Roberts,
but his views on privacy are apparent. The lecture outlines contain verbiage
that can be taken out of context and used against Mr. Roberts, just as the
recently discredited NARAL advertisement was, thus it should be noted in case
it is mentioned by partisan groups.
One such item
that may cause concern is on page 3 of the initial lecture notes. Mr. Roberts
states there are "not enough priests and nuns with experience to staff (the)
DOE" (Department of Energy). This is significant because by separating this
line from the rest of the note, some extremists may claim or conclude that Mr.
Roberts is against the separation of church and state because he wants to bring
the clergy into government. That is not, however, what Mr. Roberts was saying.
Mr. Roberts was merely stating that there is a problem finding people who have
an absolutely pure background to fill positions in government, and used priests
and nuns as hyperbole.
Mr. Roberts also advocated
bringing civilians into government positions to provide a fresh and real world
perspective. But with that, Mr. Roberts also questioned how much disclosure was
actually necessary by the applicants. Mr. Roberts asked, "Is it necessary to
know $100,000 in stocks unrelated to (the) job - Enough over set amount?" Mr.
Roberts also asked, "Where is (the) balance? (What is the) line between public
need and public voyeurism (?)" Mr. Roberts did not propose any specific
boundary but he did pose the question of where such a line should be drawn. In
essence, Mr. Roberts advocated privacy, an issue that he would surely face as a
Supreme Court Justice.
In a lecture to the White
House Fellowship Commission, Mr. Roberts upheld his stance stating, "In short,
(the) operating principal (is) not Honesty is Best Policy so much as Caesar's
Appointees Must Be Above Suspicion." That statement too may be taken out of
context by some and is also clearly understood in the context of the lecture
notes. Mr. Roberts once again affirmed he believes that being above suspicion
is acceptable and that one does not need to disclose every personal detail to
the public in order to accept a government job.
the topic of this collection of documents is Conflicts Of Interest, Mr. Roberts
discussed the topic in relation to government hiring practices. He questioned
if the new ethics laws precluded people from accepting government positions
despite the fact that they were the best person for the job.
Mr. Roberts framed his ethics review in respect to
the governments ability to be able to hire people with the question with
privacy in mind, and by his writing, Mr. Roberts is clearly an advocate of