Chief Justice Nobody
John Roberts as nominee for Supreme Court associate justice was bad enough, but Roberts as nominee for chief justice is truly off-putting and inappropriate. Here is a person who, while evidently bright, has passed his entire career as, well, a careerist, a typical Ivy League, inside-the-Beltway attorney. There is nothing particularly distinguished about him, he’s just a lawyer who has represented a lot of clients, and who has only had two years as a judge. Also, we’re used to the idea that a chief justice should at least look like a chief justice, as Earl Warren and Warren Berger and even the somewhat oddball William Rehnquist did. But Roberts, who is 50, looks a boyish 35, as though he were just a few years out of law school. His callow appearance could be accepted if there were some outstanding achievement or constitutional vision associated with his name, but, as we know, he is a man of mere process, a legal technician who has assiduously avoided stands on substantive and controversial issues and has no discernible judicial philosophy, though we must assume that politically he veers to the left, as shown by his pro bono work for homosexual rights and race preferences. The selection of this careerist nonentity as chief justice of the United States represents a downward turn for America.
None of this is to praise the Supreme Court nominees of the last 20 years by comparison. O’Connor, Kennedy, Souter, Breyer, and Ginsberg are unworthy figures, nobodies (or, alternatively, leftist activists like Ginsberg), whose only achievement has been to undermine the Constitution. But this is the first time a nobody has been picked as chief justice.