The Note: Tough Duck

Timespeople Stolberg and Kirkpatrick look at the Senate questionnaire headed John Roberts way, with some still Cruzing to learn more about his role in the 2000 recount. LINK

Chuck Babington of the Washington Post delivers a second story with a nice look at the history of SCOTUS candidates refusing to answer questions about hot-button political issues, and fairly points out the ample merits on the GOP side. LINK

In your upcoming New York Times Magazine this weekend, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) claims that during the White House consultation process prior to the President announcing his Supreme Court nominee (a process Schumer sees as more about quantity than quality), no Democratic Senator was given Roberts' name prior to the announcement.

But our favorite part of Sen. Schumer's exchange with the New York Times' Deborah Solomon is this colloquy which begins with Schumer's description of a recent meeting he had with Judge Roberts:

SCHUMER: ". . .after about 10 or 15 minutes, I said, 'I would like to vote for you this time.' I gave him a list of about 50 questions that I am thinking of asking him so I wouldn't surprise him. I told him my key question is this: Is he an ideologue?"

NY TIMES: "Why would you ask him that? No one would openly call himself an ideologue."

SCHUMER: "Some people are proud to be ideologues."

NY TIMES: "Name one."

SCHUMER: "Lenin."

NY TIMES: "Who is not exactly current."

SCHUMER: "Thank God!"

(Press-shy Chuck gets the Ray Hernandez treatment in the Times today, with the junior-senior rivalry mentioned in passing. LINK)

Roberts: background:

"A government official said the FBI was moving quickly to complete its background check on Roberts, and that the check could be completed as soon as this week," reports The Los Angeles Times' Maura Reynolds. LINK

The New York Times' David Rosenbaum rounds up the Roberts paper trail to date, and finds the beating heart of a true-blue conservative. LINK

The Plame leak investigation:

Doug Jehl of the New York Times writes one of the most complicated stories EVER about the Wilson leak investigation, with pieced together information about the role Walter Pincus of the Washington Post has played and about Judy Miller. LINK

There is so much embedded in this text that you are going to have to read it twice at least (you must read it twice, if you know what we mean).

Lloyd Grove would like to know the name of Ari Fleischer's attorney and hints at what might end up being the biggest penny-wise-pound-foolish story of all time. LINK

House of Labor:

John Sweeney was re-elected to a third term, as "AFL-CIO delegates yesterday voted to boost the monthly dues it pays the federation to finance an emergency fund for some unions to guard against membership raids by the SEIU or the Teamsters. Such turf invasions have started happening already," reports Bloomberg's Kim Chipman.

"The dues increase calls for unions to pay an extra 4 cents for each member, generating an additional $4 million a month for the federation. The funds also will be used to help state and local labor bodies that will be financially hurt by the pullout of the SEIU and the Teamsters."

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