The Roberts file

The Supreme Court nominee: A conservative lawyer in King Dubya's court

 WASHINGTON, D.C.—Here is a dossier on Supreme Court nominee John G. Roberts Jr.:

AGE: 50

BORN: Buffalo, New York

MARRIED TO: Jane Sullivan Roberts, attorney at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman

RACE: White

RELIGION: Catholic (Church of the Little Flower, Bethesda, Maryland, whose members include L. Paul Bremer III)

PROTÉGÉ OF: Chief Justice William Rehnquist

NET WORTH: $3,782,275

SCOTUS RECORD: Argued 39 cases; won 25

SHERPA: Fred Thompson, former Tennessee senator and current Law and Order star, will guide Roberts through the congressional maze.

LEGAL GROUPS: Republican National Lawyers Association, National Legal Center for the Public Interest's Legal Advisory Council, which includes Ken Starr and C. Boyden Gray (Roberts was a member until 2003).

He is a favorite of Federalist Society lawyers. (Roberts denies that he was ever a Federalist Society member.)

ELECTORAL-POLITICS ACTIVITIES: Executive committee of D.C. Lawyers for Bush-Quayle '88; member of Lawyers for Bush-Cheney

TOUGH LOVE: "No one is very happy about the events that led to this litigation," he wrote in an opinion upholding the arrest of a 12-year-old girl caught eating on a D.C. subway. "Her shoelaces were removed, and she was transported in the windowless rear compartment of a police vehicle to a juvenile processing center, where she was booked, fingerprinted, and detained until released to her mother some three hours later—all for eating a single french fry."

Roberts added, "The question before us, however, is not whether these policies were a bad idea, but whether they violated the Fourth and Fifth Amendments to the Constitution. Like the District Court, we conclude that they did not, and accordingly we affirm."

POSSIBLE CONFLICTS INVOLVING WIFE'S WORK: Cases involving Jane Sullivan Roberts's clients and firm. She gave $250 to Illinois Senate candidate Peter Fitzgerald in 1998, but her contributions to her firm's PAC have totaled $3,772, and the firm's clients include American Express, Chevron, Deutsche Bank, GE, JPMorgan Chase Bank, SBC, and Stanford University.

She is currently legal counsel to the anti-abortion group Feminists for Life of America (FFLA).


  • Roberts, while at Hogan & Hartson, played a behind-the-scenes role in George Bush's election court battle in Florida in 2000.

  • Roberts's campaign contributions in 2000 included $1,000 to George Bush and $500 to Indiana GOP senator Richard Lugar. In the '98 cycle, he gave $1,235 to Illinois GOP Senate candidate Peter Fitzgerald, who went on to defeat Senator Carol Moseley Braun, and $1,000 to Indiana Senate candidate Peter Rusthoven, who lost in the GOP primary. Fitzgerald's campaign was heavily bankrolled by right-to-life groups.

  • Roberts's other political contributions were through Hogan & Hartson's PAC, totaling $7,450 over the years. In all, Roberts's contributions to federal candidates, PACs, and parties have totaled $11,185.

    ROBERTS'S HISTORY WITH HOGAN & HARTSON: He was a partner for 10 years. Since 1989, the D.C. law firm and its members have given $2.3 million in campaign contributions.

    Hogan & Hartson, with 451 lawyers in the capital and 1,000 overall, had been No. 1 in D.C. in billable hours in recent times—until last year, when it fell to second. Average yearly profit for partners is $905,000, according to Legal Times. Major recent work by the firm has included moving Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. operation from Australia to the U.S., and the News Corp. acquisition of General Motors' stake in Hughes Electronics.

    Since Roberts's 2000 election work in Florida, ties between the law firm and Florida governor Jeb Bush's administration have grown, reports Knight Ridder. Jeb Bush's former counsel Carol Licko joined Hogan & Hartson as a partner after it bought her Miami firm. Hogan & Hartson is developing its Latin American activities, using Miami as a springboard. The firm, which first opened offices in Florida in 2000, has represented the state in water rights disputes with Georgia and Alabama and against Coastal Petroleum over Gulf of Mexico leases, according to Knight Ridder.

    ROBERTS'S CLIENTS AT HOGAN & HARTSON: Included Litton Industries (merged with Northrop Grumman), Pulte Corp. (major home builder in U.S. and Mexico), National Credit Union Association, and Intergraph Corporation.

    ROBERTS'S LOBBYING ACTIVITIES AT HOGAN & HARTSON: Western Peanut Growers Association in 1996, for which he was paid $20,000, and Panhandle Peanut Growers Association in 1997 ($10,000), lobbying the Department of Agriculture, Justice Department, and U.S. House on warehouse-storage loan program and peanut price supports.


  • Supporting Roberts (partial list): Concerned Women for America, Family Research Council, Focus on the Family, Southern Baptist Convention, Christian Coalition, Heritage Foundation, American Center for Law and Justice, Progress for America.

  • Opposing Roberts (partial list): Americans United for Separation of Church and State, National Organization for Women,, NARAL.

  • Leaning toward opposing, but not yet decided: People for the American Way ("serious concerns, questions"), Alliance for Justice ("initial review has led to serious concerns"), American Civil Liberties Union ("deep concern"), Feminist Majority.

    New Saudi envoy to U.S. is Prince Turki, bin Laden’s ex-handler

    George W. Bush has been much criticized for covering up for the retiring Saudi ambassador Prince Bandar, a longtime Bush family confidant. But the new Saudi ambassador, former intelligence chief Prince Turki al-Faisal, is if anything a more dubious envoy.

    "Yes, he knew members of Al Qaeda," The New York Times quoted a U.S. official as saying of Turki. "Yes, he talked to the Taliban. At times he delivered messages to us and from us regarding Osama bin Laden and others. Yes, he had links that in this day and age would be considered problematic, but at the time we used those links."

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