For the past month, multiple news organizations have been reporting that Supreme Court nominee John Roberts was a member of the Federalist Society, a conservative legal organization. The White House denied the reports last week, and media outlets, including the AP and the Washington Post, were forced to issue retractions.
Now the Washington Post reports that, indeed, Roberts was a member of the Federalist Society according to a published copy of a organization’s 1997-1998 leadership directory. Not only was he a member, but according to the document, he was a member of the steering committee of the organization’s Washington chapter. The White House’s initial response was that Roberts “has no recollection of being a member of the Federalist Society, or its steering committee.” And today, when Roberts was directly “asked by a reporter about the discrepancy,” the nominee “smiled but didn’t reply.” So something like this…
Unfortunately, Roberts’ non-response wasn’t nearly as bad as the White House’s admission that they would have lied about his membership anyway:
Last Wednesday, the day after Bush announced Roberts’s nomination, the officials working on the nomination asked the White House press office to call each news organization that had reported Roberts’s membership to tell them that he did not recall being a member. Asked yesterday if the White House would have done so knowing about the leadership directory, Perino said “Yes.”