White House to Release Some Roberts Documents

By Melanie Arter | July 7, 2008 | 8:31 PM EDT

(CNSNews.com) - The White House Tuesday announced plans to release around 75,000 of pages of documents related to Supreme Court nominee John Roberts' work during the Reagan administration, but it refused to turn over documents relating to cases Roberts argued on behalf of the Bush administration during the president's first term.

"What we are providing goes above and beyond what a reasonable person would expect to be made available," White House press secretary Scott McClellan said. "This is more than what senators need to be able to do their job."

Democrats, however, were not pleased.

"If the White House announcement is intended to begin a dialogue about documents, I welcome it," said Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee. "If it is intended to unilaterally pre-empt a discussion about documents the Senate may need and is entitled to, then this is a regrettable beginning."

McClellan said turning over the additional documents would interfere with the solicitor general's ability to "have a candid and independent and honest assessment from attorneys in their office."

"These future solicitor generals might as well put up a sign that says 'do not apply' if you are thinking about going through a Senate confirmation process," said McClellan.

Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) dismissed McClellan's comments on the attorney-client privilege, adding that there is no such thing.

"There is no privilege, there is no rule, and there is no logic that would bar us from getting these documents," Kennedy said.

Kennedy said the Senate Judiciary Committee has received "many internal Justice Department documents" as "sensitive as these, even for confirmation proceedings that don't come close to the importance of a Supreme Court appointment."

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