Forget the Communist Party! It's Not the KKK!

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Forget the Communist Party! It's Not the KKK!

Post by Corlyss_D » Wed Jul 27, 2005 9:54 am

Nefarious Ties:
Harvard, the Federalist Society and other "subversive" affiliations.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005 12:01 a.m.

The reasons to worry about Supreme Court nominee John Roberts continue to accumulate. First we learned he attended Harvard, which is always suspicious. Then the New York Times informed us that his wife, who is also a Catholic lawyer, not only worked pro bono for Feminists for Life but has in the past "attended Mass several times a week." Holy mackerel.

Then yesterday brought the Washington Post's scoop that Judge Roberts may once have been a card-carrying member of the Federalist Society. Mr. Roberts has said that he doesn't recall belonging to the lawyers' outfit. But in the best tradition of Woodward and Bernstein, Post reporters dug through the society's "secret" enrollment lists and--there it was, in black and white, the name of John Roberts, member 1997-98. This news actually made page one.

The Post's exposé continues: "The Federalist Society was founded in 1982 by conservatives who disagreed with what they saw as a leftist tilt in the nation's law schools. The group sponsors legal symposia and similar activities and serves as a network for rising conservative lawyers." That's a subversive group if there ever was one, not least because we've seen with our own eyes that representatives of the ACLU have sometimes attended these public "symposia," and without disguising their identities.

We don't know whether these news stories illustrate the desperation of liberals who can't find any real mud to throw at Judge Roberts, or whether they've been planted by the White House to make liberals look silly. Come to think of it, liberals these days don't need any White House help.

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The 'Evil Cabal' Of Conservative Lawyers
The White House should have stood up for the Federalist Society.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005 12:01 a.m.

Three years ago Sen. Orrin Hatch (R.-Utah) stood on the floor of the Senate and said: "Mr. President, I take the opportunity today to right a wrong. Over the past two years, members of the Federalist Society have been much maligned by some of my Democrat colleagues, no doubt because they see political advantage in doing so. The Federalist Society has even been presented as an 'evil cabal' of conservative lawyers. Its members have been subjected to questions that remind one of the McCarthy hearings of the early 1950s. Detractors have painted a picture which is surreal, twisted and untrue."

Here we go again.

Before I proceed, let me join the view expressed by the Journal's editorial board yesterday ("Nefarious Ties") that the left looks pretty silly in making a big deal of Judge Roberts's association--whatever it is--with the Federalist Society. It is more than amusing; it is sophomoric. (See the three-page talking points issued yesterday by Howard Dean's Democratic National Committee on the Roberts-Federalist cover-up.)

Judge Roberts's ties with the Federalist Society are not the story. If Judge Roberts is not a member, he's not a member. But the White House should not be in the business of appearing to disassociate itself from its friends. By running to correct media reports last week that Judge Roberts was a member of the Federalist Society, the White House created an issue where none existed. It should have left it to the press or Democrats to unveil this great mystery. To add injury to insult, the move now has the appearance of having been bungled with the Washington Post's discovery of Judge Roberts's name on a Federalist Society list from 1997-98.

Why should the White House have stayed silent? Several reasons. As we should know by now, the left loves to come up with conspiracy theories; responding to them only encourages this kind of scare-mongering. Also, by responding to the reports, the White House legitimized an attack on good people who may include future judicial nominees, including the president's next Supreme Court pick.
In addition, it harms a GOP-friendly society of lawyers that depends on membership dues for support. Students and lawyers with visions of future confirmation hearings dancing in their heads may now think twice before joining the Federalist Society. (I am sending in my application and dues today and I urge others to do the same.)

But there is an even better reason for why the White House should have stayed quiet: loyalty. As today's slang goes, the president's staff should "represent." In appearing to put sunlight between Judge Roberts and the Federalist Society, the White House staff did not represent the man for whom they work. Rudy Giuliani writes about loyalty in his book "Leadership." He calls it a leader's "vital virtue."

In standing by his top aides and cabinet officers on matters large and small, President Bush has established a standard for loyalty perhaps even more favorable than Ronald Reagan's. But not everyone on his staff understands that they are supposed to "represent." It does not represent this president to appear to disassociate him from an organization important to the president's cause.

In the movie "Clear and Present Danger," Jack Ryan, in the form of Harrison Ford, gets to advise a president who fears the taint of association with an embarrassing friend. Ryan tells the president not just to tell reporters that he is a friend, but that he is a close friend.

There is no Federalist Society handshake and there is no Federalist Society group think. Some years ago the Washington Monthly published an article titled "The Conservative Cabal That's Transforming American Law." It cited a 1999 decision by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals as the "network's most far-reaching victory in recent years.'' The decision overturned some of the EPA's clean-air standards on the grounds that it was unconstitutional for Congress to delegate legislative authority to the executive branch.

Oh, really? In this case two prominent individuals closely associated with the Federalist Society were of differing opinions. C. Boyden Gray, former White House Counsel for the first President Bush and a member of the Federalist Society's Board of Visitors, filed an amicus brief making the winning argument. Yet the case was overturned by the Supreme Court in a decision written by Justice Antonin Scalia, a frequent participant in the society's activities.

The Washington Monthly also attacked Mr. Gray as a water carrier for the Federalist Society in advancing Microsoft's effort against antitrust enforcement. Yet Robert Bork, who also served on the Federalist Society's Advisory Board, was Microsoft's chief intellectual adversary.

Rather than assist the left in creating a conservative bogeyman, here is a user-friendly defense of the Federalist Society: Again, the words are Orrin Hatch's. The Federalist Society stands for three propositions, he said: "that government's essential purpose is the preservation of freedom; that our Constitution embraces and requires separation of governmental powers; and that judges should interpret the law, not write it. For the vast majority of Americans, these are not controversial issues."
As Orrin Hatch concluded in his speech three years ago: The Federalist Society is "not quite the vast right-wing conspiracy hobgoblin some [Democrats] would have the American people believe." And it's nothing that a Republican White House should appear to repudiate.

Mr. Miranda, former counsel to Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, is founder and chairman of the Third Branch Conference, a coalition of grassroots organizations following judicial issues. His column appears on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

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My mother signed me up for the Federalist Society when she heard some of its members criticize ACLU positions. I'll wager many liberals belong to the Federalist Society too, to monitor what they are doing.
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Post by Ralph » Wed Jul 27, 2005 11:22 am

I have enormous respect for The Federalist Society. I have been their invited guest (various chapters) a number of times to speak or debate and I've always enjoyed their courtesy and the very high level of intelligence and knowledge of their advisors and members.

It's because of the enviable success of The Federalist Society that The American Constitution Society was created as a liberal mirror of the older group. While they have Scalia, we have Ginsberg. I'm faculty advisor for my school's ACS chapter and ACS chapters are now at most law schools.

I'd be surprised if Judge Roberts WASN'T affiliated with The Federalist Society. It's a total non-issue with regard to confirmation.

"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former."

Albert Einstein


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