"Guesstimating" Roberts' Influence on the Court

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Adam's Apple, Sep 16, 2005.

  1. Adam's Apple

    Adam's Apple Senior Member

    Apr 25, 2004
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    Roberts the Elder: John Roberts Has an Understated Personality, But His Record Will Be All Torpedo
    By Jonathan Turley, Jewish World Review
    September 15, 2005

    As John Roberts sits down before the Senate Judiciary Committee this week, its members will be searching to better understand the man who would become the 17th chief justice of the United States. If history is any guide, they will learn little about who John Roberts is and even less about who John Roberts will become. The problem with confirmation hearings is that, even with a forthcoming nominee, they offer only a snapshot of a jurist before he or she enters the rarified and mind-altering world of the country's highest court.

    Senators have learned that a strange metamorphosis can occur in the walk over the east Capitol lawn to the Supreme Court building. In that short expanse, reliable conservatives have been known to transform into raging liberals, and vice versa.

    Only 50, Roberts will be assuming the position of Chief Justice as a relative puppy among his older colleagues. As a result, Roberts could be on the court for decades. Indeed, if Roberts stays on past 84, he could surpass the 34-year tenure of the great John Marshall as chief justice.

    Predicting what Roberts will look like as a jurist at 64 or 84 is no easy task. The usual bachelor's method for seeing the future effects of aging-checking out the mother-is hardly available here. Traditional forms of divination are equally unavailing. Oneiromancy (the divination of dreams) requires disclosure of Roberts's dreams, which would immediately be claimed as privileged by the White House counsel's office. Physiognomy (divination by the appearance of the face) would also come up blank. Since he was nominated, Roberts has adopted a perfectly Buddha-like appearance that denies any hint of emotion or recognition. Even goat entrails would trigger widespread protests from animal rights activists before anyone could read them.

    This leaves perhaps the most historically unreliable method: predicting the future by studying the mosaic of past statements, opinions, and memoranda from the nominee. Past confirmations offer little assurance that any such prediction would rate above a random selection. History, including recent history, is replete with cases of mistaken identity.

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