Stop us if you've heard this one before: The Bush administration, worried that the facts will get in the way of its political agenda, is doing what it can to keep the facts from coming out.
It happened with 9/11: The White House opposed the creation of the 9/11 Commission, initially refused to let Condoleezza Rice testify, refused to turn over thousands of pages of potentially relevant documents and may still be stonewalling when it comes to what the U.S. military knew about some of the hijackers before 9/11.
It happened with Iraq: The White House and its allies on Capitol Hill succeeded in making the Senate investigation into prewar intelligence a two-part affair, with the part concerning the administration's misuse of intelligence coming after the November election -- and now that part seems to be on a permanent pause.
It happened with John Bolton: Again and again, the White House refused to turn over documents that would have revealed whether Bush's nominee for the United Nations abused his authority with respect to National Security Agency intercepts.
And now it's happening with John Roberts. From the beginning, the White House has said that it won't provide the Senate access to memos Roberts wrote as the deputy solicitor general under the first President Bush. Now, the Washington Post reports, the White House is delaying Senate access to other documents involving Roberts. The reason: White House aides want more time to review the documents so that they won't be caught off guard by, say, revelations that Roberts provided pro bono work for gay rights activists. "Lawyers and political aides are urgently reviewing more than 50,000 pages" of Roberts-related documents, the Post says, "at the same time denying requests from Democrats for an immediate release."
The White House says it will release all the documents it's going to release before the start of Roberts' confirmation hearings on Sept. 6. If history is any guide, Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee should probably plan to work late on Sept. 5.