Bench Memos

NRO’s home for judicial news and analysis.

Media Distortions of Roberts’s Executive-Branch Record—Part II


In this July 27 article, the New York Times claims that John Roberts in December 1981 “wrote a blistering critique [of affirmative action], saying the ‘obvious reason’ affirmative action programs had failed was that they ‘required the recruiting of inadequately prepared candidates.” (The New York Times repeats that charge in a July 28 article.) But Roberts’s actual comment in his December 22, 1981, memo was clearly directed at a single specific program in a municipal police department that Arthur Flemming, the outgoing Chairman of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, claimed had been sabotaged. There is absolutely no basis for reading Roberts’s comment as applying to all affirmative-action programs.

This same article discusses Roberts’s position that Title IX applied only to specific programs, but, like the Washington Post article that I dissect here, fails to disclose that Roberts’s position rested squarely on a very recent Supreme Court ruling.

Is it mere chance that these articles misrepresent Roberts’s statements on affirmative action, Title IX, and a meeting with Martin Luther King Jr.’s widow? Or is the liberal media working with the Left to stir up opposition from civil-rights groups?


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