Roberts’ sarcastic memo

  • The Washington Examiner
  • |
  • August 03, 2005

by Karen Feld

Some of the memos Supreme Court nominee Judge John Roberts wrote when he was a young lawyer, now housed at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California, reveal his sarcastic side. In 1983, when Rep. Elliott Levitas, D-Ga., wrote to President Ronald Reagan to demand a conference on power-sharing among the branches of government in the aftermath of an immigration case, Roberts, then 28, wrote to his boss, White House counsel Fred Fielding:

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“There already has, of course, been a ‘Conference on Power Sharing’ to determine the manner of power sharing and accountability within the federal government. It took place in Philadelphia’s Constitution Hall in 1787, and someone should tell Levitas about it and the ‘report’ it issued.”

Levitas, now based in Atlanta, where he’s a partner at Kilpatrick Stockton, and represents the plaintiffs in Cobell v. Norton, the Indian land trust case against the U.S. government, doesn’t remember much about that idea that he floated to the Reagan administration nor the young attorney who mocked it in his Aug. 4, 1983, memo.

But Levitas, a Rhodes Scholar and leader on regulatory reform and the concept of the legislative veto, is seldom at a loss for words. He quipped: “I don’t think that a smart-aleck comment 22 years ago disqualifies Roberts for service on the Supreme Court.” The former congressman, who says he has never met Roberts, added, “He’s probably matured since then.”

Since President Reagan endorsed the legislative veto, and the GOP adopted it in its platform, “any snide remarks concerning the concept of the legislative veto would reflect on President Reagan and the Republican platform,” said Levitas, adding: “Roberts was probably unaware of that.”

We may not know where Roberts stands on abortion, but we do know where he stands on the division of power in the federal government.

KennCen chair snags Hamptons nest

Kennedy Center Chairman Stephen Schwarzman, CEO and co-founder of The Blackstone Group, a global investment group, won the bidding war for the late Carter Burden’s Water Mill property, listed at $32 million. Schwarzman paid $34 million for the eight-bedroom 1860s manse on 7.2 acres that includes a 50-foot pool, greenhouse and 1,500 feet of shoreline on Mecox Bay in Bridgehampton, N.Y. Schwarzman, who is married to a Hearst, broke the New York City co-op record five years ago when he purchased Saul Steinberg’s Park Avenue triplex for $29 million.

Duking it out: Sleazy film vs. family TV?

While many might enjoy watching a wet Jessica Simpson wash that famed car, the General Lee, in a tight bikini in her MTV video, at least one insider is standing up to condemn the new “Dukes of Hazzard” film, which opens Friday. Former Rep. Ben Jones, D-Ga., aka Cooter Davenport, the lovable ace mechanic in the original ’80s “Dukes” TV series, told me, “Don’t go. The film is a sleazy insult to all ‘Dukes’ fans and the original cast. It’s not in the spirit of family.” Ben is no prude, but says, “There’s plenty of profanity and sexual innuendo that’s not necessary.” He adds: “This kind of toilet humor has no place in Hazzard County.”

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Perhaps that sells tickets. But Jones also points out that no stunt drivers were used in the film. The bright orange General Lee, a 1969 Dodge Charger, flies via cables and pulleys to achieve the effect.

Meanwhile, the original pop cult TV series is back on the air – this time on Country Music Television. Twenty-three million viewers tuned in the first weekend. A new generation is fast becoming “Dukes” fans.

Jones now divides his time between Cooter’s Place in Gatlinburg, Tenn., Nashville, Tenn., and the original Cooter’s Place outside Sperryville, Va.

Switching endowments

The buzz in hip political circles is all about the young West Coast mayor who is allegedly gay, which explains why his wife suddenly left him. But first, this not-so-politically correct wife told a crude joke to a gay and lesbian group in NYC some months ago about how well-endowed the mayor is and how much she enjoys oral sex with him. How politics has changed! As the story goes from numerous sources, she supposedly discovered him in flagrante delicto with another man and walked out. (Perhaps it was someone in the audience that day who was inspired by her description.)

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