Bench Memos

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John Roberts’s “Seclusion”


Some Congressional Black Caucus members are “concerned” about John Roberts’s “secluded” upbringing in Northern Indiana. They think he should be asked about it. After all, one congressman said, if Roberts’s “only knowledge” of black folks is from movies and the Six O’Clock News, “that is a problem.”

It sure is. In fact, any 50-year-old American who has never actually met an African-American –you know, really and in person –is absolutely unqualified to sit on the Supreme Court. That is because such “seclusion” could only mean that the person has been comatose since infancy.

A bigger problem, though, is members of Congress whose “only knowledge” of Northern Indiana seems to be gleaned from Norman Rockwell paintings and from Knute Rockne: All American (starring Pat O’Brian as the legendary Notre Dame coach and, you guessed it, Ronald Reagan as doomed running back George Gipp).

None of the Black Caucus members actually live in northern Indiana, as I do. Maybe some have driven through on the highway. If so, they might have noticed that a short drive past LaLumiere–Roberts’s high school–is Gary, Indiana, where, even in Roberts’s youth, lots of black folks dwelled. And not just Michael Jackson, who has been on the Six O’Clock News quite a bit lately.

Anyway, what we really need to know is this: John Roberts, have you ever
attended a bar mitzvah? If not, why?


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