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July 21, 2005
Maybe He Just Knows The Secret Handshake

Who needs the blogs? The Washington Post managed to kill off a John Roberts rumor within 24 hours, albeit one they helped fuel in yesterday's coverage of his SCOTUS nomination. Roberts, contrary to liberal-activist groups' hysteria, has never belonged to the Federalist Society:

Everyone knows that, like all good Republican lawyers, John G. Roberts Jr. is a member of the Federalist Society, the conservative law and public policy organization where right-of-center types meet to denounce liberalism and angle for jobs in the Bush administration.

And practically everyone -- CNN, the Los Angeles Times, Legal Times and, just yesterday, The Washington Post -- has reported Roberts's membership as a fact. One liberal group opposed to Roberts's nomination, the Alliance for Justice, has noted it on its Web site.

But they are wrong. John Roberts is not, in fact, a member of the Federalist Society, and he says he never has been.

Roberts has appeared as a speaker at Federalist Society events, but never joined the club. The news will come as a shock to many, even inside GOP circles. It appears that Roberts decided quite a long time ago that he wanted to pursue a career in the judiciary and avoided entanglements that might cause controversy -- although why people get so hysterical about a group based on a fairly mainstream school of conservative thought is beyond me. Federalism as a philosophy, after all, goes back to the founding of this country.

At least the Washington Post and Charles Lane acknowledged the error, on page A16, of course. Good for them. So far, I don't see retractions from the other news services mentioned, but the day is still young, and we can always hope.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at July 21, 2005 12:18 PM

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