Thursday, August 02, 2007


That is how Betsy Newmark essentially describes the Linda Greenhouse prayer, er story, about how Chief Justice John Robert's medical scare this week will change his judicial activity.
He lost his privacy, and with it the aura of invincibility that came with his youthful good looks and spectacular career path.

Barely a month ago, he was presiding over the close of a dramatic Supreme Court term in which he and his ideological allies were clearly ascendant. At the top of his game, he promptly flew to Europe for lectures and meetings with the cream of the Continent’s legal establishment.

Then out of the blue, on a clear summer day, he became a middle-age man in need of emergency medical treatment, hospitalized and confronting the implications of a condition that could affect his life in big and small ways like requiring daily medication or making it inadvisable to drive a car.

In October, when he returns to his seat at the center of the Supreme Court bench, will colleagues and courtroom spectators see the same golden youth whose trajectory was unmarked by setback or sorrow? Or will they see someone suddenly vulnerable, with a medical condition that, while treatable and shared by millions, can still inspire fear?

Or to dig deeper, might this encounter with illness even change the way John Roberts sees himself, his job or the world?
Newmark writes:
Greenhouse has given up all pretense of being an objective observer of the Court she covers. Now she's also given up any attempt to base her reporting on actual evidence and facts and descended simply reporting her own wishful thinking.
All too true.

Greenhouse's "article" may have been better suited to appear on the op-ed pages, since that is where opinion should be published, but instead appears on the Supreme Court Memo pages of the New York Times. Greenhouse has an opinion and that is fine, if she can get paid to publish her opinion all the more better for her. But to disguise the opinion as a story strains the already tenuous credibility of the New York Times.

I seriously doubt that a "brush with death" will impact John Roberts' judicial outlook. Chances are he will still live a pretty long life despite technically being an epileptic, and he will still be able to issue opinions and gall liberals when his opinions are based on law, fact and a realistic interpretation of the Constitution, as opposed to a fanciful one.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Factually, John Roberts didn't need to be at the "top of his game" (i.e. a Supreme Court justice) to lecture in Europe. He was lecturing in England when he received the call that he was nominated for Supreme Court justice. Also, the other Supreme Court justices met with their European counterparts this summer, not just John Roberts.

The comment that Roberts had not suffered any sorrow or suffering on his "trajectory" is foolish. Maybe he was sorrowful when his adoptions fell through or when he advocated for the aborted fetuses while he was a lawyer in the Reagan administration. Greenhouse probably would not recognize that type of sorrow because it is not something she cares about. In any case, she is foolish for making that comment for it implies his rulings are based on a lack of compassion for the issues she cares about.