September 28, 2005

EVERYBODY MAKES MISTAKES, but this is a fairly big one:

Judge John G. Roberts Jr., nominated to be chief justice of the United States, was not the author of an unsigned memorandum on libel law that was the focus of an article published in The New York Times yesterday. The Times erroneously attributed it to him.

Bruce Fein, a Washington lawyer who was general counsel of the Federal Communications Commission in the Reagan administration, said yesterday that he wrote the memorandum, a caustic critique of New York Times v. Sullivan, the 1964 Supreme Court decision that revolutionized American libel law, and of the role played by the press in society. . . .

Three people quoted in the article discussed the Fein memorandum, provided to them by a reporter, on the assumption that it had been written by Judge Roberts.

Oops. (Via Bill Quick, who observes “Trust, but verify.” Indeed.)