Laurence Silberman Third Interview: December 13, 2001Catherine Nugent2022-04-28T11:38:07-04:00
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Today is December 13, 2001 and we are resuming the oral history interview of
Judge Laurence Silberman for the D.C. Circuit Historical Society. The interviewer is again Ray
MR. RASENBERGER: Judge Silberman, when we finished up at our last session
you had just left the Labor Department and had been considered for a position, actually offered a
position, as a judge on the Ninth Circuit, which that offer had been subsequently revoked for
reasons you had explained. I guess that brings us to the end of your career in labor, or in labor
law, at least as an executive branch individual. And then you moved on to Steptoe and Johnson
as a lawyer. Let me ask you first before we go on from there. Was there anything in the Steptoe
experience, which I guess was fairly brief, which stayed with you or stays with you today in
terms of your role as a judge?
JUDGE SILBERMAN: I had a couple of interesting cases. I was recruited by
Steptoe primarily to sort of head a labor practice, but with one exception of one big labor case, I
sort of evolved gradually into more general administrative law practice, and I was just at the
point of getting it started really when I was called back into government about a year later, a year
after I started at Steptoe. But I do recall, there were several interesting things, I remember when
Watergate blew. I recall vividly when John Dean made a public statement to the effect that he
would not be a scapegoat, and I immediately had the view that the President was culpable.
MR. RASENBERGER: Why was that?
JUDGE SILBERMAN: Because I knew the people. And I couldn’t imagine that,
first of all, when John Dean said what he did, I thought he was implying pretty strongly that the
President was knowledgeable and therefore guilty, but beyond that, it seemed to me