Bench Memos

Law & the Courts

Cultivating the Chief Justice

As many on the Right harshly criticize Chief Justice Roberts, Harvard law school dean Martha Minow turns on the love. Here are some excerpts from her cover piece, titled “Versatile and Nimble,” in the Harvard Law Bulletin:

Sept. 29 of this year marked the 10th anniversary of the day Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. ’79 took his seat on the U.S. Supreme Court…. [R]ight from the start, his leadership has shown mastery and deft management—not only of the Supreme Court but also of the federal judiciary.…

As he indicated during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Chief Justice Roberts’ decisions are not likely to etch a consistent political agenda. His decisions apply and interpret the Constitution and statutes with great learning, precision, and discipline. His opinions and his votes provide considerable evidence that he tries to act impartially and with restraint, as he told the Senate he would.…

His historical references can be poetic.… His reports give hints of a droll sense of humor.… Chief Justice Roberts reveals a sense of proportion and modesty about the Court and his role, traits that do not always accompany impressive and talented people in positions of great power.…

Chief Justice John Roberts has made his alma mater very proud.


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