VFR on John Roberts in 2005—Part VII

In the previous entry I quoted John Roberts’s congressional testimony in 2005 in which he said that he had an “open mind” toward all judicial questions. In another VFR entry from 2005 we find out why he had an open mind: by his own account, he lacked any “overarching” philosophy. Naturally, if you have no formed view of things, you are going to be equally open to any idea that comes down the road. Even Charles Krauthammer (himself a social liberal) described Roberts at the time as “a tabula rasa” on constitutional matters (which, needless to say, didn’t prevent Krauthammer from joining with the entire conservative movement in supporting his nomination).

Here is the entry, posted at VFR on July 25, 2005:

The real difference between Souter and Roberts

Echoing a hundred other commentators, Charles Krauthammer informs us that Judge Roberts is an intellectual paragon, but then he inadvertently adds a few facts about Roberts that would tend to make those readers who have not yet become complete sheep question that conclusion:

John Roberts is obviously a brilliant lawyer with a history of attachment to conservative administrations. On constitutional matters, however, he is a tabula rasa. He’s been an advocate advancing his clients’ opinion and interests. That tells us little. And in just two years as a circuit court judge he’s made no great, or even important, pronouncements. Nor does Roberts have significant speeches or law review articles to his name. If he has a judicial philosophy, we don’t know it. Nor does he—having told the Senate Judiciary Committee in 2003 “I think I’d have to say that I don’t have an overarching, uniform philosophy.” [Emphasis added.]

Would someone please tell me how all commentators or at least all “conservatives,” most of whom never heard of John G. Roberts before, know that Roberts is “brilliant,” and not only brilliant, but “obviously” so? In particular, how do they know this, given the fact that he has “no significant speeches or law review articles to his name,” and no articulated point of view? The guy’s a cipher, yet everyone just “knows”—as though they had received it through the ether—that he’s brilliant.

But at least the sheeplike conservative masses can be assured that there is, after all, a difference between Roberts and the reviled David (“no track record”) Souter: Roberts is brilliant.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at June 30, 2012 05:20 PM | Send

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