Back in this post, Article III Groupie summarized and collected the mainstream news media's coverage concerning the two adopted children of our SCOTUS nominee, Judge John G. Roberts, and his wife, Jane Sullivan Roberts. A3G did this after it was rumored, on the Drudge Report, that the New York Times was looking into the Roberts' adoption records.
Out of a respect for the Roberts family's privacy -- yes, even A3G recognizes limits -- as well as a recognition that this topic is not germane to Judge Roberts's fitness to serve on the Supreme Court, A3G will not explore this topic any further. So if you're looking for speculation concerning the adoptions, you've come to the wrong place.
In the interest of completeness, however, A3G offers this brief "meta"-news update, concerning not the Roberts adoptions themselves, but the news media coverage of them. Here are answers to a few questions that you might have concerning the (somewhat controversial) Times investigation.
1. Is it true that the Times made inquiries into the Roberts' adoptions?
Yes; the Times confirmed it. In response to reader mail that it received in the wake of the rumors, the Times offered the following explanation:
Like all major news organizations, we report extensively on the life and career of any nominee or candidate for high public office. Most of the inquiries we make do not report in published articles at all; we would simply be remiss if we did not ask the questions.
In the case of Judge Roberts's family, our reporters made initial inquiries about the adoptions, as they did about many other aspects of his background. They did so with great care, understanding the sensitivity of the issue. We did not order up an investigation of the adoptions.
2. What was the public reaction to the news that the Times was looking into the Roberts' adoptions?
The news was generally not well-received. See, e.g., this editorial; this editorial; this statement by the National Council for Adoption; this statement by Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison; and this open letter (by Judge William W. Treat, a retired New Hampshire state court judge).
3. Did the "inquiries" into the Roberts' adoptions turn anything up?
No. According to the Times statement, "[w]e have not pursued the issue after the initial inquiries, which detected nothing irregular about the adoptions."
4. What prompted these inquiries?
According to The American Spectator, "[i]t was opposition research generated by pro-abortion group NARAL -- and distributed to Democratic operatives working against the Supreme Court nomination of Judge John Roberts -- that spurred these operatives to encourage reporters in Washington to look into the Roberts' adoption process."
NARAL, of course, is the group responsible for the widely criticized, subsequently withdrawn television advertisement attempting to link Judge Roberts with bombers of abortion clinics. In the wake of the controversy over the Roberts attack ad, David E. Seldin, the NARAL communications director, resigned.