Thursday, March 24, 2011

Dep't of So Also Ye Did Unto Me

The death of Elizabeth Taylor leads to remembrance of her AIDS activism in the 1980s, including prodding Reagan to speak publicly on the subject:
Throughout his presidency Reagan had distanced himself from the AIDS issue. Two years earlier [i.e., in 1985] his staff prepared a briefing paper suggesting he deliver a statement expressing sympathy with parents who were worried about sending their children to school with a child who has AIDS and emphasizing there was no danger from casual or routine contact.

But John Roberts, a young White House lawyer -- and future Supreme Court chief justice -- reviewed the paper and advised: "I would not like to see the president reassuring the public on this point. ... We should assume that AIDS can be transmitted through casual or routine contact until it's demonstrated that it definitely cannot be."
Such a nice young man.

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