: Supreme Court Nominee John Roberts Jr. On The Dickensian Lawyer Scale. Sydney Carton? Uriah Heap?
Ever wonder about Roberts, outstanding student and athlete in high school, outstanding student and athlete in college, outstanding student in law school, Supreme Court clerk, White House Attorney, Deputy Solicitor General, partner in a prestigious Washington corporate law firm, Federal Appeals Court Judge. Married with two children. Associates with well-known conservatives, Reagan, Starr, Rehnquist. Bush Sr. and Bush Jr. He was slated for the Federal Appellate Court by Bush Sr. but Bush Sr. lost the 1992 election and his nomination died in the Judiciary Committee. This seems to be one of the few miscalculations in his life.
No problem with the draft because he was too young. No screw-ups as a kid. No DUI’s like Bush or expulsion from Harvard like Teddy Kennedy. No drunken auto accidents. No misdemeanors for breaking windows or for unlawful student demonstrations. No published personal philosophy or personal position papers. Lots of conservative memos and legal advice while a White House Attorney. Bush won’t release his memorandums while Principal Deputy Solicitor General to Kenneth Starr! Hm.. that’s strange. Wonder why. Roberts seems to be the epitome of a bloodless conservative. Nary a shred of pragmatism or enlightened imagination in his record as a person, lawyer or justice.
He was compelled to uphold the conviction of a twelve year old girl who was arrested and imprisoned for eating a french fry on the subway instead of being issued a ticket as an adult would have been because she was too young?
The disturbing but politically correct reasoning in his opinion misses the point of this law enforcement overreaction to an infraction by a minor that leads to her incarceration. It should have been handled differently.
Marries late in life and then to a woman lawyer too old to have children. No birth control problem there.
All his life he has been a nay sayer to enlightened social and economic policy. Always alert to finding ways to narrowly interpret the law to further some gimlet eyed conservative end. He has used his intellect and imagination to buttress ultra conservative viewpoints whenever he could.
PRO BONO WORK
We never hear of any major pro bono work done on behalf of the general public, or even on a local basis in the Courts of Washington D.C. No representation of a convicted criminal in an appeal involving constitutional questions and his specialty is federal appellate work. No counseling of minors in the grip of the legal system. Just all those calculating endeavors in the conservative Washington hierarchy in concert with the major political conservatives.
He denied he was a member of the Federalist Society founded by Bork and Scalia then later it is revealed he was listed in their directory in the late 1990’s as a member the Federalist Societies Steering Committee. Strange he didn’t remember. He seems to have remembered everything else. More on the Federalist Society( http://www.edsopinion.com/modules.php?op=modload&name=News&file=article&sid=68)
Bush wants to reverse the flow of history more than he already has with this nominee who has a reputation for thinking inside the box or backwards by a narrow interpretation of the Constitution. There seems to be no inclination to take past precident and meld it with the facts of a changing environment and society to create a new legal synthesis based on the old legal priciples
The Bush administration must be a little edgy about their conservative boy wonder. They are starting a campaign to defend Roberts as a Catholic. Even though he has not been attacked on those grounds and three of the present Justices are Catholic and it doesn’t seem to be a problem. I guess this is another Karl Rove red herring.
Well what’s the problem? Nothing, except his path to the Supreme Court seems to be too calculated. No childhood pranks that led to problems. No student passions that led to trouble with the law. No draft or military problems. No women problems. No compassionate stances for his fellow man as a man or a lawyer. Always the correct position from a conservative point of view. Even notable Constitutional lawyers like Tribe and Boies have nothing to say against him probably because they realize they might have to appear before him one day. No major physical,(like FDR) personal or social obstacles to overcome. No race, poverty or even gender obstacles (like Sandra Day O’Connor). Is this who we want on the Supreme Court? Is he a Sydney Carton the lawyer who sacrfices his life in place of Charles Darnay on the guillotine saying, “It is a far,far better thing that I do,than I have ever done;it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known.” Or a calculating, manipulative Uriah Heap, the lawyer, whose only concern is himself no matter what the cost to others. Only time will tell.