The White House released some of the papers of John Roberts, Bush’s nominee to the Supreme Court, but refused to release papers from when Roberts was deputy solicitor general under the George Bush, Sr from 1989 to 1993. Those papers would include any memos written by Roberts when the first Bush Administration intervened in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, urging the Supreme Court to reverse Roe v. Wade. The eight Democratic members of the Senate Judiciary Committee sent a letter to President Bush urging him to release the rest of Roberts’ writings. “It is for the Senate and not the White House to decide what documents the Senate will need to fulfill its responsibilities in the confirmation process,” said Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), the ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, according to the NY Times.
The papers that have been released thus far are files that Roberts kept when he was special assistant to Attorney General William French Smith. These papers reveal that Roberts was for limiting racial integration via busing, and would narrow Title IX and affirmative action. For example, in a memo to the attorney general in August 1982, Roberts said he agreed with a decision by a federal district court that limited Title IX, the landmark 1972 law prohibiting sex discrimination in federally funded education. Roberts argued Title IX should only apply to specific programs receiving federal aid, not entire universities, according to the New York Times. This argument was used by the Reagan Administration in Grove City v. Bell a 1984 US Supreme Court decision that gutted Title IX (which was later reinstated with the Civil Rights Restoration Act of 1988).
Roberts has also been linked to the ultra-conservative Federalist Society. Although Roberts says he has no memory of belonging to that organization, his name is listed in the 1997-98 leadership directory as a member of the steering committee of its Washington chapter, according to the Washington Post. The document was given to the Post by Alfred Ross, president of the Institute for Democracy Studies (IDS). Other members of the Federalist Society, which does not release its membership lists to the public, include former Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork, former Christian Coalition president Donald Paul Hodel, Senator Orrin hatch (R-UT), and Edwin Meese, a trustee of the right-wing Scaife Foundation, according to IDS. IDS has been studying the Federalist Society, a right-wing law group that has been challenging the role of the American Bar Association. The White House had denied reports that Roberts was a member, and had even pressured news outlets to issue retractions.