The LBJ Tapes: A Crony on the Court?

The president taps a friend for the Supreme Court, and we have the tapes!

On today’s podcast, I have a conversation with Timothy Naftali, who directs the Presidential Recordings Program at the University of Virginia’s Miller Center of Public Affairs. After President George W. Bush nominated his friend Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court, Miller Center staff members dug through their archive of tapes that Lyndon Johnson used to make of his conversations, tapes recorded without the other party’s knowledge. The Miller Center found tapes in which LBJ browbeats his old friend and legal adviser Abe Fortas into taking a seat on the Supreme Court (despite Fortas’ better judgment). Naftali and I discuss the nomination and play the tapes.

Click here to download or play the MP3 audio, or click here to subscribe to all of Slate’s free daily podcasts on iTunes.

You can also find many more presidential tapes, stretching from FDR to Nixon, at the center’s Web site, www.whitehousetapes.org. And you can reach Slate Podcast Central anytime at podcasts@slate.com.