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U.S. Supreme Court

Roberts' papers put spotlight on career

Associated Press
Published August 11, 2005

WASHINGTON - Supreme Court nominee John Roberts didn't disclose that he once lobbied for cosmetics makers, or mention that he had once given a TV interview about justices' independence. And questions about his connections with the conservative Federalist Society have lingered for weeks.

Midway between his nomination and his confirmation hearing, an issue is whether more surprises await those fighting over access to his documents.

Senate Democrats are accusing the White House of delaying the release of Roberts' paperwork to ensure Republicans aren't blindsided by information that could hurt his confirmation. "The time for such partisan review of documents was before the nomination of Judge Roberts to the Supreme Court," said Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y.

But Republicans say the Roberts questions have been minor, and they accuse his opponents of trying to find a way to criticize President Bush's nominee. "I'm convinced that even if there's not anything, there are groups out there who are going to try to make this nomination controversial even when it shouldn't be," said Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, a member of the Judiciary Committee that will question Roberts early next month.

Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida said he was impressed by Roberts after meeting with him Wednesday. "I'm encouraged by the judge's comments," said Nelson, who questioned him on the issues of identity theft and the recent Supreme Court ruling on the power of eminent domain.

But a trickle of omissions from Roberts' public resume have some partisans smelling blood and demanding more documents. Roberts, a U.S. appeals judge, has acknowledged that he should have told senators before he was confirmed that he worked as lobbyist for the cosmetics industry in 2001.

Meanwhile, a new national advertising campaign against Roberts features a nurse criticizing Roberts for his past legal work in support of abortion protest groups.

Emily Lyons, a nurse who was seriously injured in a 1998 bombing of a Birmingham, Ala., women's clinic, appears in a 30-second ad by NARAL Pro-Choice America that started airing Tuesday.

"His record demonstrates a commitment to siding with the very groups that threatened, intimidated and bombed women's clinics," Lyons said in Washington, where the ad was announced.

The ad was denounced by Roberts' advocates as deceitful, signaling an escalation in the debate over his nomination to replace retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.

[Last modified August 11, 2005, 00:43:15]

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