Saturday, November 18, 2017
Politics

No-holds-barred: Questions Supreme Court hopefuls could face

RECOMMENDED READING


Did you ever buy porn, sniff glue, have sex in junior high? Exactly how many times?

White House lawyers are scouring a life's worth of information about President Barack Obama's potential picks for the Supreme Court, from the mundane to the intensely personal. In trying to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia, the president could alter the balance of the court for decades — but only if he can get his nominee through Republicans in the Senate.

Prospective justices are put through the nation's most thorough background check, an invasive process where nothing is off-limits. After all, a surprise dredged up later could scuttle confirmation. So candidates' taxes, writings, childhoods, business dealings, medical histories and, yes, love lives, are all scrutinized for potential red flags.

"The idea that you miss something that later torpedoed the nomination — that's a nightmare," said Jack Quinn, former White House counsel to President Bill Clinton. Many of the answers given in private interviews with the White House will remain private — at least for a while. Answers given in response to Senate Judiciary Committee questionnaires tend to be made public in short order, although some remain confidential.

A look at questions that recent Supreme Court nominees have had to answer, compiled from presidential archives, Senate questionnaires and Congressional Research Service reports:

• What was the most unpleasant or embarrassing thing that happened to you while in high school?

• Did you have sex in high school or junior high? If so, how often? How many different girls? Where? Were there any pregnancies? Were there any abortions? Did you ever contract venereal disease? Did you use contraceptives?

• Did you ever have any fist fights?

• What were your grades in high school?

• Were you ever abused by your parents?

• Did you ever engage in homosexual activity? Did you engage in any aberrational sexual activity?

• Do you have any bitter friends, e.g. bitter girlfriends?

• Did you ever engage in cruelty to animals?

• Did you ever use drugs? Glue sniffing? Parents' prescription drugs?

• Did you buy or sell pornography?

• Did you (and your wife) live together before you were married?

• Do you have any current medical problems? (cancer, heart disease, AIDS, herpes)

• Have you ever made public or private statements, either orally or in writing, that could be held to be, even mistakenly, racist or sexist?

• What courses have you taught?

• Describe the 10 most significant litigated matters which you personally handled.

• Did you make any representations to any individuals or interest groups as to how you might rule as a justice, if confirmed?

• Has anyone involved in the process of selecting you for this nomination … ever discussed with you any currently pending or specific case, legal issue, or question in a manner that could reasonably be interpreted as seeking any express or implied assurances concerning your position?

• List sources and amounts of all income received during the calendar year preceding your nomination and for the current calendar year.

• Have you ever been a member of any club or organization that excludes as members or restricts access to individuals on the basis of race or national origin, religion or sex?

• Is there anything in your personal life that could embarrass you, your family, or the president?

Comments
As sex scandals topple the powerful: Why not Trump?

As sex scandals topple the powerful: Why not Trump?

WASHINGTON — "You can do anything," Donald Trump once boasted, speaking of groping and kissing unsuspecting women. Maybe he could, but not everyone can. The man who openly bragged about grabbing women’s private parts — but denied he really did so — w...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Allegations against Alabama’s Roy Moore dividing GOP women

Allegations against Alabama’s Roy Moore dividing GOP women

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Standing on the white marble steps of Alabama’s Capitol, Kayla Moore surrounded herself with two dozen other women Friday to defend husband Roy Moore against accusations of sexual misconduct that are dividing Republicans, and women...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Franken apologizes to woman who says he kissed, groped her

Franken apologizes to woman who says he kissed, groped her

WASHINGTON — Minnesota Sen. Al Franken personally apologized to the woman who has accused him of forcibly kissing her and groping her during a 2006 USO tour, saying he remembers their encounter differently but is "ashamed that my actions ruined that ...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Negative mailers trace back to campaign of state House candidate who denies them

Negative mailers trace back to campaign of state House candidate who denies them

An 87-year-old widow from Melbourne, a mysterious direct mail company in tiny Buffalo, Wyo., and a tangled web of political committees all were linked to the onslaught of negative mailers that helped Lawrence McClure win the Republican primary in Pla...
Updated: 6 hours ago

10,000 more FBI records unsealed from JFK assassination files

DALLAS — Yet again, the National Archives released a trove of records from the Kennedy assassination files on a Friday afternoon, another strange stream of loose ends, dead ends and tangents with little apparent connection to the assassination of the...
Updated: 7 hours ago
William March: Why Jose Vazquez had to campaign from a prison cell

William March: Why Jose Vazquez had to campaign from a prison cell

Jose Vazquez, Democratic nominee in the Dec. 19 state House District 58 special election, doesn’t seem like a criminal. He’s 43, divorced with six children, and has worked as a security guard and in auto recycling. He was a high-level political field...
Published: 11/17/17
Selective outrage: Trump criticizes Franken, silent on Moore

Selective outrage: Trump criticizes Franken, silent on Moore

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is displaying selective outrage over allegations of sexual harassment against prominent men in politics, as his own tortured past lingers over his response. Trump moved quickly Thursday to condemn accusations again...
Published: 11/17/17
In struggling upstate New York cities, refugees vital to rebirth

In struggling upstate New York cities, refugees vital to rebirth

UTICA, N.Y. — Pat Marino pulled into the shop on a cold, wet Thursday and stood close as a young mechanic with gelled-up hair and earrings lifted the truck and ducked underneath."You need a little bit more oil," the mechanic said."Five quarts wasn’t ...
Published: 11/17/17
Franken draws swift condemnation in Congress after woman claims he groped her

Franken draws swift condemnation in Congress after woman claims he groped her

WASHINGTON — Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., faced swift condemnation and bipartisan calls for an ethics investigation Thursday after he was accused of forcibly kissing and groping a broadcaster and model while traveling overseas in 2006.The allegations ag...
Published: 11/16/17
Alabama GOP stands by Roy Moore; Trump declines to urge him to quit Senate race

Alabama GOP stands by Roy Moore; Trump declines to urge him to quit Senate race

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Roy Moore won a reprieve in his struggle to survive as a U.S. Senate candidate Thursday when the Alabama Republican Party affirmed it would continue backing him despite allegations that he sexually assaulted teenagers."Judge Moore ...
Published: 11/16/17