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September 8, 2005

John Roberts, the Stepford Justice

As the media flails around for some dirt that will stick to Chief Justice nominee John Roberts, WaPo's Richard Cohen deserves a prize of some sort for trying to turn Roberts' sterling professional bio into a liability:
I sometimes think the best thing that ever happened to me was, at the time, the worst: I flunked out of college. I did so for the usual reasons -- painfully bored with school and distracted by life itself -- and so I went to work for an insurance company while I plowed ahead at night school. From there I went into the Army, emerging with a storehouse of anecdotes. In retrospect, I learned more by failing than I ever would have by succeeding. I wish that John Roberts had a touch of my incompetence.

Instead, the nominee for chief justice of the United States punched every career ticket right on schedule. He was raised in affluence, educated in private schools, dispatched to Harvard and then to Harvard Law School. He clerked for a U.S. appellate judge (the storied Henry J. Friendly) and later for William H. Rehnquist, then an associate justice. Roberts worked in the Justice Department and then in the White House until moving on to Hogan & Hartson, one of Washington's most prestigious law firms; then he was principal deputy solicitor general, before moving to the bench, where he has served for only two years. His record is appallingly free of failure.
He's too perfect to be Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court! He's probably not even human!

The theory goes that Roberts' lack of failure in life will make him less sensistive to the plight of the less fortunate. Of course, sensitivity has nothing whatsoever to do with the proper constitutional role of a Supreme Court justice, but who's paying attention to irrelevancies like that any more?

(Credit: Captain's Quarters)

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