White House: Roberts interview no conflict

Aug. 17, 2005 at 4:47 PM
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WASHINGTON, Aug. 17 (UPI) -- Bush administration officials were interviewing Judge John Roberts for the Supreme Court while he was hearing a case critical to Bush policy on terrorism.

Roberts has acknowledged he met with Attorney General Alberto Gonzales about the Supreme Court at the same time he was part of a three-judge panel considering the administration's use of military officers to try terrorist suspects held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, The Washington Post reported.

Roberts met with Gonzales April 1, six days before hearing oral arguments in the case, the newspaper reported.

The following month, with the case still being heard, Roberts was called to the White House to meet with several officials including Vice President Cheney, White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card and Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove. Bush conducted Roberts' final interview on July 15, the same day the panel ruled unanimously in favor of the administration on the military tribunal issue.

Stephen Gillers of the New York University School of Law said Roberts should have removed himself from the case after he started talking with the White House about the Supreme Court.

White House spokesman Steve Schmidt said there was no conflict of interest in the matter.

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