Newshounds on the Paper Chase

By Dana Milbank
Friday, August 19, 2005

The throng of journalists lined up outside the National Archives yesterday morning made the place look like the Uptown Theater on "Star Wars" opening night, without the storm trooper costumes.

They had come to examine 39,000 pages of the paper trail of Supreme Court nominee John G. Roberts Jr. -- perhaps even to find the smoking gun that would brand him a hard-edged conservative or a closet moderate -- and they vied fiercely for 71 boxes of 20-year-old documents.

"Box 11 is good," said one.

"Nine might be interesting," posited another.

"Box 48 has Sandinista Violations. That's good stuff."

When New York Times reporter Anne Kornblut reached the front of the line, she requested Box 51.

"No," said Archives official James Hastings, checking his list of available files. "But I can give you a nice special on 47."

"Box 34?" she ventured.

"Gone," Hastings said, proposing Box 36.




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