Roberts Opposed Jackson Presidential Letter
The Reagan-era White House counseling of Supreme Court nominee John G. Roberts, Jr. dug up in the press in recent weeks might not be inflammatory enough to rally Democrats to oppose his confirmation,The Reagan-era White House counseling of Supreme Court nominee John G. Roberts, Jr. dug up in the press in recent weeks might not be inflammatory enough to rally Democrats to oppose his confirmation, but fans of Michael Jackson and Prince may now be bristling.
As reported in today's (Aug. 16) Washington Post, in June and September 1984, Roberts, then a young assistant to White House counsel Fred Fielding, wrote a memo to his boss opposing repeated requests by Jackson's handlers for a Presidential letter praising the singer's efforts opposing drunk driving and giving away free concert tickets to needy youngsters.
In the first instance, a June 22 memo to Fielding, Roberts wrote: "I see no need to have the president send a letter to Mr. Jackson, simply because Mr. Jackson's public relations firm has requested one."
In the second encounter, Roberts wrote to Fielding on Sept. 21: "I hate to sound like one of Mr. Jackson's records, constantly repeating the same refrain, but I recommend that we not approve this letter. Frankly, I find the obsequious attitude of some members of the White House staff towards Mr. Jackson's attendants, and the fawning posture they would have the president of the United States adopt, more than a little embarrassing."
He described the Jackson ticket giveaways as a "calculated commercial decision that does not warrant gratitude from our nation's chief executive."
Later on, he added, "In today's Post there were already reports that some youngsters were turning away from Mr. Jackson in favor of a newcomer who goes by the name of 'Prince,' and is apparently planning a Washington concert." He then asked Fielding: "Will he receive a presidential letter?"