DNC General Counsel Joe Sandler just sent this email to Democratic supporters.

I’m the General Counsel for the Democratic National Committee, and I’m writing to you about a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request that the DNC will be submitting to the Justice Department on Monday.

John Roberts, the nominee to replace Sandra Day O’Connor on the Supreme Court, worked in the Solicitor General’s office in the early 1990s under the first President Bush. During that time he worked on nearly 80 cases that were eventually argued before the Supreme Court.


His work on these cases offers the American people a realistic snapshot of his approach to the law and his regard for our fundamental rights and freedoms. (So far, the information that has come out has given us reason to question whether he will be a justice for everyone or advance the activist, partisan agenda of a few.)

Senators who will vote on his lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court have requested documents pertaining to 16 of those cases. These were cases Roberts worked on as a senior political appointee in the first Bush administration. The cases (which are listed in the FOIA request linked below) deal with important legal issues like civil rights, equal opportunity for all, women’s rights, our right to privacy, and access to justice.

The Senators’ request for these documents has gone unanswered, despite the fact that the Justice Department has previously released similar records on other nominees.

So on Monday we will submit a formal request under the Freedom of Information Act from Governor Howard Dean and anyone else who wishes to be a part of it. You can read the formal request and add your name to it here:


The Freedom of Information Act mandates a response within 20 working days. That date will fall just as the Roberts hearings take place next month, in time for Senators to ask substantive questions about his record.

Government agencies will sometimes create excuses to not respond to these requests. Administrations with secrets to hide find any way they can to avoid disclosing incriminating information or “slow walk” the release of critical information. This Bush administration continues to be one of the worst in history when it comes to making sure that people have free and open access to information about the business of government and responding to legitimate questions.

But there is too much at stake to let that happen. Senators have said they will reserve a decision until they can review these documents and question Roberts about them. The simplest way for the White House to address concerns and answer the important questions that are being raised is to release the record of Roberts’s work on these 16 cases. This is a lifetime appointment to a court that can fundamentally reshape our rights and freedoms.

Reviewing the Roberts record on these 16 important cases will shed light on whether or not he can separate partisanship and ideology from his responsibilities to the law. Our Senators need the information the White House is withholding to do their Constitutional duty and evaluate whether or not Judge Roberts will be an advocate for the basic rights and freedoms of every American, or an activist for an extreme ideology.

You can read more about the 16 cases and why they are important, and add your name to a formal request for the documents, by clicking here:


It’s rare that a federal agency receives a Freedom of Information Act request from large numbers of citizens acting together. It is unfortunate that the Bush administration’s penchant for secrecy requires tens of thousands of Americans to demand access to important information.

But the Senate has a Constitutional duty to examine John Roberts’s full record before deciding to place him on the Supreme Court. We want to ensure that our Senators have the information they need to fully evaluate Judge Roberts.

If you choose to be a part of the formal request, I will update you on its status as we move forward.

Thank you for your consideration.


Joseph E. Sandler
General Counsel
Democratic National Committee

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