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Saturday, August 20, 2005

WP: In 1980s, Roberts Criticized The Court He Hopes to Join

Jo Becker, R. Jeffrey Smith and Sonya Geis
Washington Post Staff Writers
Saturday, August 20, 2005; Page A04

When John G. Roberts Jr. accepted President Bush's nomination to the Supreme Court last month, he spoke with awe about the high court. He had argued 39 cases before the justices, but he said he "always got a lump in my throat whenever I walked up those marble steps."

Two decades earlier though, as a young lawyer in the Reagan administration, Roberts expressed less reverential comments, repeatedly arguing that the high court was interfering in issues best left to Congress. He even wrote approvingly of an effort to term-limit federal judges instead of giving them lifetime appointments, so they "would not lose all touch with reality through decades of ivory tower existence.

"The federal judiciary today benefits from an insulation from political pressure even as it usurps the role of the political branches," he wrote his boss, White House counsel Fred F. Fielding, on Oct. 3, 1983....