In 1990, the Federal Communications Commission asked the first Bush administration to defend a policy aimed at encouraging more minority ownership of broadcast stations. As the number two man in the solicitor general's office, John G. Roberts Jr. played a critical role in the government's decision to reject the request, according to documents that came to light yesterday.
The case was one of hundreds that Roberts, President Bush's pick to become chief justice of the United States, handled during his tenure from 1989 to 1993 as principal deputy solicitor general. It is also one of 16 cases that Democrats
are demanding to learn more about as they prepare for next week's confirmation hearings, a request they renewed yesterday.
The documents offer a rare glimpse into a time in Roberts's life that has remained largely shrouded, on an issue that is likely to be central to next week's hearings: Roberts's civil rights record.
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