Washington Post's Really Big Scoop on Judge Roberts

August 26th, 2005 11:14 AM

I find these daily investigative forays into Judge Roberts' decades-old work product amusing, until I consider that those writing these stories must truly be serious.

Check out this story in the Washington Post today titled, "In Article, Roberts' Pen Appeared to Dip South." It seems that when Roberts was "ghostwriting" an article for President Reagan for the National Forum journal on "The Presidency: Roles and Responsibilities," he left a handwritten, self-editing trail, as I suppose he frequently did -- as did Reagan himself, as we know.

Now, here's the big scoop. In one section of the draft, he began a sentence with the words, "Until about the time of the Civil War." Then, according to the Post, he "scratched out the words, 'Civil war' and replaced them with 'War Between the States.'"

And, yes, this is something the Post considers newsworthy. According to the article, "While it is true that the Civil War is also known as the War Between the States, the Encyclopedia Americana notes that the term is mainly used by southerners. Sam McSeveney, a history professor emeritus at Vanderbilt University who specializes in the Civil War, said that Roberts' choice of words was significant. 'Many people who are sympathetic to the Confierate position are more comfortable with the idea of a "War Between the States,"' McSeveney explained. 'People opposed to the civil rights movement of the 1960s and 1970s would undoubtedly be more comfortable with the words he chose.'"

Do you see the method in the Post's madness? From the Post's point of view, Roberts might as well have made a written confession of his bigotry and opposition to civil rights. It's as if they're saying, "He can fool some people into thinking he's not a conservative, but this proves he is, and by that we mean a racist, anti-civil rights ogre."

Why can't we just concede that Judge Roberts is a conservative, say, half as conservative as Ruth Bader Ginsburg is liberal? It would have to be understood, of course, that this concession would be made only to liberals. Conservatives would still be permitted to argue among themselves over Roberts' bona fides, but we could dispense with the daily horror stories from the Left about Roberts' evil rightist ideology.