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Schumer Questions Whether Relevant Roberts Documents Will Be Available To Judiciary Committee Before Sept. 6 Hearing Start Date

Virtually No Documents from Reagan Library Have Been Turned Over to Judiciary Committee, and May Not Be for Several WeeksSchumer Urges White House, Judiciary Committee to Coordinate Document Release Before Hearings Begin

Today U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer, ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Subcommittee on the Courts, sent a letter to President George W. Bush to ask for cooperation in ensuring a smooth process leading to the upcoming confirmation hearing for Judge John G. Roberts to the Supreme Court, which is only a month away [September 6, 2005]. The Judiciary Committee sent a request letter nine days ago to the White House detailing specific Roberts files, but there has been no response, timetable, or documents transmitted by the White House yet. Schumers letter questions whether relevant documents will be available in time for the Committee hearings and Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter is copied on the letter.

There are three relevant sets of documents relating to Judge Roberts nomination:

1.) Documents at the Archives that are publicly available from Roberts time working for Attorney General William French Smith;
2.) Documents at the Reagan Library during his time in the White House Counsels office;
3.) Documents from the Department of Justice Solicitor Generals office under the first Bush Administration.

Schumers letter to the White House expresses growing concern that a critical category of relevant documents already promised and already designated for public release will arrive at the Senates doorstep too late to be meaningfully reviewed and considered in time for Judge Roberts hearing. Between 50,000 to 75,000 pages of documents relating to Judge Roberts work in the White House Counsels Office during the Reagan Administration, are currently housed at the Reagan Library. Not a single document from the Reagan Library has even been sent to the Judiciary Committee by the White House.

Schumer said in his letter, If these documents arrive too late, I fear that they cannot be given a fair review by Committee members and the public before the hearing starts.

The Schumer letter urges the White House to:

Expedite the release of most pertinent files from the Reagan library as outlined by a letter nine days ago from eight Judiciary Committee Democrats. The Committee has not received any of these documents yet, nor has it received a response to the request or an idea of when these documents might be delivered;
Clarify whether the White House intends to assert any privilege with respect to any or all of the Reagan Library documents.

If we work together in a cooperative way, we are certain that consistent with what the American people want this process can be deliberate and dignified without being dilatory, Schumer concluded.

Click here to view letter.