RUSH: We’ll talk about Judge Roberts. The LA Times is out with a new story today that goes 180 degrees the other way from yesterday’s story. I’m convinced of something today, folks, that I was on the verge of saying yesterday. I’m convinced that this LA Times story yesterday, which we now know was sourced by a big former partner — I don’t know former — I guess, he’s a former partner in Roberts’ law firm. This guy now works at some hot super-big lib interest group, and it turns out he was the source for the role Roberts played in his pro bono work involving the Colorado ballot initiative, and it seems to me that what the LA Times story yesterday was really all about was, “We on the left can’t defeat this guy.
We can’t stop this guy so we’re going to have to try to drive a wedge between him and the right wing because we can’t stop him. So we’re going to put out this little notion here that he’s a closet gay rights supporter,” which is what the focal point of that story was, and I think it’s ultimately a positive. I think this LA Times story yesterday indicates the left is in trouble and they can’t stop the guy on their own, and so they’re trying to rely on what they think, and it’s typical bigotry, by the way, folks. It is their typical prejudicial bigotry thinking that there is nothing but pure hatred for gays in the Republican Party, trying to capitalize on that trying to drive a wedge between Roberts and his supporters on the right. It isn’t working and it isn’t going to work, but I think it’s another sign of desperation on the left about this nomination.
RUSH: I’m happy to be able to welcome to the program today former Senator Fred Thompson from Tennessee, well-known to people who watch television and movies. Senator, it’s great to have you with us. I know that the White House has asked you to be the liaison, so to speak, that sort of shepherds, if I can use that term, the nomination of John Roberts through the confirmation process. What does that entail for you?
THOMPSON: Well, I told somebody the other day they came up with the name “sherpa,” said I was going to be Judge Roberts’ sherpa. I told somebody, “I think that’s French for ‘stay out of the way,'” and I’ve been trying to do that as much as I could. But I’ve gone on the Hill with him and introduced him to the senators and sat in on most of the conversations that they’ve had. I talked to him a little bit about the process and the folks that he’ll be meeting with and what the various interests are, and so forth, and we’ll be working on preparing for the hearings here in the next couple weeks.
RUSH: How are the Democrats treating him when they meet him personally? I’ve seen video, I haven’t been able to listen to it but I’ve seen video of Senator Kennedy meeting him and Senator Schumer. Are they engaging and polite?
THOMPSON: They’re treating him very well. I wouldn’t expect anything differently. I really don’t think that is an indicator of necessarily what lies ahead. I hope it is, but he’s a very engaging fellow. He’s a nice guy. He’s a modest fellow and totally, you know, inconsistent with his brilliant academic and professional background, some might say, but he’s just that kind of a guy. He’s a comfortable fellow and he gets along with everybody. They’ve had some good conversations and several Democrats said, “You know, I don’t necessarily agree with you on a lot of things but I think you’re very well qualified and the president deserves the benefit of the doubt,” et cetera, et cetera, so I think we’re going to get some support.
RUSH: Well, that’s what it seems like now, but a lot of us are in the “we’ll believe it when we see it” mode.
THOMPSON: That’s right.
RUSH: Because, you know, Clarence Thomas was doing fine until somebody in the middle of all that decided it was time to bring up Anita Hill.
THOMPSON: Yeah, they’re working overtime out among the groups and so forth, and we can’t be na?ve about what we’re picking up there, and it will depend on what they’re able to shake out of the bushes, which I don’t think is going to be much of anything. They’ve had a little dose of his writings back when he was 26, 27 years old and part of the Reagan administration and giving sound legal advice, and a lot of these groups and the media don’t like what they see there, but it’s unassailable because he’s just being a good lawyer, and he’s solid in his reasoning.
So they’re looking for other things now, and, you know, they’ve done a little job on the wife, and now they’re apparently trying to get into the sealed adoption records of the children, and, you know, once again, some in the media are making themselves the story instead of the story and, you know, it doesn’t do anything but hurt them.
RUSH: I don’t expect you to comment on this, but you remind me of something I have to share with the audience. I’ve been roaming the blogosphere. What’s floating around the blogosphere is that the reason the New York Times is interested in his adoption records is that they’re curious about how he ended up with two kids from Latin America who are so light-skinned, so light colored.
RUSH: Yeah. We haven’t seen that story yet, and I can’t confirm that, but that’s just what’s floating around.
THOMPSON: Well, I haven’t heard that, but nothing surprises me.
RUSH: Keep a sharp eye out for it. Look it, senator, you know the value of the court to the American left. I mean, to them it’s the legislative body that they want to control because they can institutionalize what they believe there.
RUSH: Take it out of the arena of public debate and public ideas.
THOMPSON: It’s become exalted and much, much more and more powerful than it was ever intended to be is part of our problem.
RUSH: Well, you talk about shaking the bushes to see what falls out. There was I think an attempt by the Los Angeles Times yesterday to shake the bushes and cause a rift among Republicans over Judge Roberts regarding his pro bono work for gay activists in the Colorado case — and we’ve learned today that one of the sources for that story happens to be a man who used to work with Judge Roberts, name is Walter Smith, goes back ten years ago, who now heads up D.C. Appleseed, which works with People for the American Way.
RUSH: Now, it seems the point of the story yesterday was that they tried to make it out that Judge Roberts purposely sought out this pro bono work and that he has an unknown — and he didn’t submit the responses or didn’t answer this in the questionnaire on his pro bono work — that the LA Times tried to portray him as a stealth supporter of gay rights. They’re trying to raise red flags in the Republican Party about this, and I’ve gauged reaction in the last couple days. I don’t think that’s working. In fact, it seems to me that move yesterday by the LA Times was perhaps indicative of the fact that they don’t think they can stop him on their side and they want to try to cause a rift on the Republican side.
THOMPSON: Yeah, and it’s kind of obvious. You know, as a lawyer, I was specially interested in this little story because it shows Judge Roberts as a lawyer, and I’ve been there, and I know what the deal is and how it works, and the story is basically this — especially these large law firms. His law firm I think had over a thousand people in the firm. They have these pro bono divisions, pro bono committees, and these committees decide, for whatever reason, what pro bono cases they take over a period of years. It would be hundreds and hundreds of cases, and they go around to the various specialties in their firm to ask for assistance in appropriate areas that come up, and you’re expected to do that as a lawyer, and Judge Roberts the entire time he was there at the firm never refused for ideological reasons or any other reason to assist and give advice as to the best way to proceed with regard to a particular legal situation. If it was a plausible legal case and it was ethical, he was playing his role as a lawyer. He handled many pro bono cases, he handled a lot of cases in his practice for wealthy people, and he handled pro bono cases for indigent people. He was a lawyer’s lawyer, and he was on a lot of different sides of a lot of different issues.
You know, kind of the pinnacle that most lawyers really aspire to. And I think the point here is that, you know, we got a system here where lawyers play their role, judges and juries play their role. And this is no indication of a judicial philosophy. This is an indication of a lawyer philosophy that has a long and illustrious history starting with John Adams who defended the Redcoats at the Boston Massacre — and Abe Lincoln, you know, was not adverse to representing the railroads against the little guy on occasion. It’s a lawyer’s role not to be the judge, but to be an advocate for a case that’s plausible if it comes into his office, and that’s the role that he was playing. But it has nothing to do one way or the other with judicial philosophy.
RUSH: I’m glad you say that, because the one thing about it that concerned me was not his role on the behalf of gay activists. He appeared to be, based on the way the story was written, he was assisting in overturning a duly passed ballot initiative by the people of Colorado.
THOMPSON: Well, you could say that Judge Roberts’ secretary assisted overturning that case. I mean, you’ve got a lot of lawyers doing a lot of things. Judge Roberts did a little bit. You know, unapologetically, again, not trying to beg off on that basis but the fact is he was a very, very peripheral player and to the extent that you want to say that, you know, 1% makes up the whole and the whole caused a judicial decision, I guess you can say that but it’s really stretching the point.
RUSH: How certain are you or how convinced are you that Judge Roberts is in the mold of Antonin Scalia and Justice Thomas? And I only ask this because I don’t hear a lot of Washington Republicans engaging the Schumers and the Durbins and the Ted Kennedys on philosophical grounds. The Democrats run around and they make all these wild claims that are largely untrue, and I wonder how certain you are that Judge Roberts is as he appears to be to all of us.
THOMPSON: Well, in terms of the members, I mean that, unfortunately, may come later, you know, joining issue on some of these things. You know, we try not to squeal before you’re stuck, and they really haven’t stuck him, and I expect it will get a little rough before it’s over with but, you know, we’ll deal with that when the time comes but not before. In answer to your question, Rush, here’s what I can say about that. It’s not for me to speak about his philosophy and so forth in too much detail, I don’t guess. He’ll do that for himself. But in his entire record, through his public service, through his years on the bench as a judge and through the conversations that I have witnessed where he’s consistently said the same thing to both Democrat and Republican senators, he has supported the limited role for the judiciary. And a word that he uses a lot is the word modesty, that a judge ought to approach his job and his problem, his case before him with a sense of modesty, with a respect for precedent, with a respect for the limited role that the judiciary has in the process, a very important role but a limited role.
These judgeships have always been important but they have become much, much more elevated and important, in my opinion, than I think than the Founding Fathers had in mind. So a limited role for the judiciary, important but with a modest approach. Secondly, that a judge is not supposed to get up in the morning and put down an opinion based on the lead opinion of the day or a narrow set of preconceived notions. They decide the case based on the Constitution, the statutes, and the facts before him. Judges don’t decide ideological issues. Judges decide cases.
RUSH: Well, they do. They shouldn’t.
THOMPSON: I mean, that’s what they’re supposed to do. That’s what, in my opinion, we need to get back more to. Everything that he has said publicly and privately is consistent with that. He never, in any of his endeavors, certainly as a judge or as an advocate inside the government, has ever been inconsistent with that in any way. I just think the guy is going to be an exceptional judge.
RUSH: Well, I appreciate your calling and I appreciate your time, and it’s good to speak with you. It’s been years since I had a chance to talk to you.
THOMPSON: I know, I know and I miss that, and I appreciate what you’re doing, and I especially appreciate you giving me a little time here today.
RUSH: Any time, senator. Senator Fred Thompson who is acting as the liaison between the White House and the judiciary committee with the Judge Roberts nomination.
RUSH: The LA Times story yesterday, remember, it had this — and it wasn’t even hidden; it wasn’t even veiled. That story was written with a supposition, and the supposition is that Republicans hate gays; Republicans just despise gay people. So they write this story that that Judge Roberts had assisted gay activists in overcoming a ballot initiative in Colorado. Well, we have learned here that the chief source in this story, is a guy named Robert Smith who worked at Roberts’ law firm ten years ago. He headed up the pro bono division. He’s now with a lib activist group called DC Appleseed, and DC Appleseed works together with People for the American Way and other, you know, the leadership conference on civil rights. It’s a pretty far-left group, and it turns out this guy is the source. What this tells me, folks, is that the left is having trouble defeating Judge Roberts on their own.
They just don’t have the goods to defeat the guy, so they’re trying, as I thought yesterday, to drive a wedge between Republicans with this intimation that he’s pro-gay rights and so forth — and it’s just obvious to me now what the purpose of that story was, and I think it’s ultimately, when you take it all away, strip it all away, a positive that the left has got some problems because the LA story today is a 180.
The headline of the LA Times story today is, “With Starr, Roberts Pushed Reagan Agenda.” So yesterday Roberts pushed a gay agenda, and now he’s pushing the right-wing Reagan agenda. Which is it? “Together Starr and Roberts pressed a strongly conservative legal agenda for three and a half years. They argued for limiting the scope of civil rights laws, ending race-based affirmative action, restoring some prayers to public schools, and overturning Roe vs. Wade, the case that established a woman’s right to abortion.
“Christopher Wright, a lawyer who worked under them at the solicitor general’s office said, Ken Starr and John Roberts are genuine conservatives. ‘They’re highly professional and excellent lawyers, but I’m a Democrat, and I can’t say I’ll always agreed with them.'” So today Roberts is one of these far-right extremist guys; he’s full-fledged Reaganite. Yesterday he was a gay rights activist. So it seems that the Los Angeles Times, and, yes I do associate an agenda with mainstream journalism, folks. You’d be silly not to. They’re not just out there reporting the facts; they’re not just telling us what we didn’t see. There’s an agenda behind all this, and it is apparent they’re trying to stoke the fires on both sides.
They’re trying to get both sides upset with this guy. But this is pretty weak. The left is going to be opposed to him on this basis whether it’s true or not. Bush appointed him; they’re going to assume he’s a conservative and they don’t need any proof. He’s just a conservative. They’re going to oppose him on that base. I still suggest to you that the reason for all of this is they’re having trouble and they’ve got some problems. Some Democrat senators have come out and said they liked the guy and they’re going to have a tough time voting against him.
Now, I also want to warn you about this. This is exactly as I mentioned to Senator Thompson. It wasn’t until it looked like Justice Thomas was going to sail through that they dragged out Anita Hill, and you know where that came from, Paul Simon, the late Paul Simon, Senator from Illinois, his wife was instrumental in dredging up this story. Anita Hill at first wasn’t even game for it, and this was a late-arriving scandal. The Bork business of Ted Kennedy happened the day that Bork was nominated or the next day. But it appears to be smooth sailing right now, but I’m just telling you the libs, they’re going to have some things, you know they always do, and they’re holding their fire right now, and it’ll manifest itself in the hearings. You know they’re going to take their shots. They’re just not going to sit back idly and let this happen.
As to the New York Times, the blogosphere is reporting that the New York Times’ interest in his adoption papers is that some people on the left are curious how Judge Roberts and his wife were able to adopt such light-skinned babies from Central America, and the adoption records are sealed, and that makes them want them even more. We haven’t yet seen the story, but I’m just telling you what’s going around, and there are some sources in the blogosphere that are close to the New York Times on this that are suggesting, “Yeah, this just doesn’t look right. You start adopting Latinos or Latin-American kids and they ought to look like that, not look like they’re white. So what’s up here?” That’s said to be a curiosity factor of the New York Times. Does it get any lower than that, folks?