URGENTLY REVIEWING ROBERTS….Jo Becker’s front page story in the Washington Post about John Roberts is bizarre:

Thrown on the defensive by recent revelations about Supreme Court nominee John G. Roberts Jr.’s legal work, White House aides are delaying the release of tens of thousands of documents from the Reagan administration to give themselves time to find any new surprises before they are turned into political ammunition by Democrats.

….Three weeks later, these officials say they recognize that Roberts’s record is going to be central to Senate confirmation hearings scheduled to begin Sept. 6, and lawyers and political aides are urgently reviewing more than 50,000 pages ? at the same time denying requests from Democrats for an immediate release.

While the White House plays catch-up in studying Roberts’s past, it is facing complaints from some of its conservative supporters about what they feel has been a stumbling campaign for the nominee.

Sean Rushton, director of the conservative Committee for Justice, said in the days after the nomination “there was a drop-off of message and focus.”

This doesn’t even make sense. The White House knew liberals would be gearing up to oppose anyone they nominated. They knew NARAL would go after any candidate who wasn’t obviously willing to uphold Roe v. Wade. They knew Roberts was a conservative ? that’s why they nominated him in the first place.

So why are they scrambling? Were they really so excited at finding a “stealth” candidate ? one who was extremely conservative but didn’t have much of a track record ? that they didn’t bother to map out a confirmation strategy even though they’ve been expecting a Supreme Court vacancy to open up for years?

Something doesn’t add up here. Frankly, Roberts looks like a shoo-in to me, and if Bush has any trouble at all getting him confirmed it means there’s some serious disarray in the White House. Maybe Karl Rove has other things on his mind these days?