Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Chief Justice John Roberts

A few things stand out about Chief Justice Roberts, when you've heard him speak and answer questions. He is very well-spoken. He is always looking for a chance to make a joke. He's extremely humble, but not in an artificial way. You become so at ease listening to him that you forget that this man is a brilliant and successful jurist and that he is one of the most intelligent men in the nation. He had nothing bad to say about his fellow justices, and went out of his way to be diplomatic about, for instance, Scalia's and Ginsburg's personalities. One gets the sense that he is a fair and competent leader of the Court.

Some of you may know that Chief Justice Roberts clerked for William Rehnquist in 1980, while the latter was still an Associate Justice. Rehnquist died after Roberts was nominated to the Supreme Court, but before his confirmation hearing (Roberts was originally selected to replace retiring Associate Justice Sandra Day O'Connor). Roberts says he got a note from Rehnquist saying that he looked forward to working on the Court with his former law clerk. Something that was pretty apparent yesterday was that Roberts admired his precedessor more than you could realize, if all you know of Roberts is gleaned from coverage of his confirmation hearing.

The man we have leading our highest court is one of the best judges and best men this country has. I hope he continues for a good many decades of service.


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