Like a schizophrenic who missed his dose of Haldol, I sometimes see connections between things that saner people don’t. Perhaps I am having one of those days.
Today, I want to highlight two articles in the press. I think they are connected, but maybe only at the cosmic level. You decide.
Remember Chief Justice Robert’s confirmation hearing? He uttered these famous words:
Judges and justices are servants of the law, not the other way around. Judges are like umpires. Umpires don’t make the rules; they apply them.
The role of an umpire and a judge is critical. They make sure everybody plays by the rules.
But it is a limited role. Nobody ever went to a ball game to see the umpire.
Judges have to have the humility to recognize that they operate within a system of precedent, shaped by other judges equally striving to live up to the judicial oath.
And judges have to have the modesty to be open in the decisional process to the considered views of their colleagues on the bench.
Quoted from Roberts: ‘My job is to call balls and strikes and not to pitch or bat,’ CNN (September 12, 2005).
In Linda Greenhouse’s piece, she raises an interesting question. What kind of an “umpire” will Chief Justice Roberts be in nine years. In raising the question, she looks back at the Chief’s tenure during the past nine years. It is a fascinating piece backed up by a knowledgable observer’s discussion of some of the big cases.
Here is my take on Greenhouse’s piece: Chief Justice Roberts may be more the good lawyer and less the pure ideologue than you might otherwise have believed. While we tend to focus on the Chief’s “umpire” analogy during his confirmation hearing and many may sneer at his suggestion, Greenhouse raises the possibility that we are missing the boat with that focus. It could be that Roberts statement about listening to his colleagues–“And judges have to have the modesty to be open in the decisional process to the considered views of their colleagues on the bench.”–was far more significant.
If you care about the Supreme Court and how a Chief Justice can shape the Court if he or she has the traits of a practical lawyer open to compromise, Ms. Greenhouse’s piece is worth your time.
Yazidi boy reunited with family in Lincoln after 4 years by Chris Dunker (slow to load–be patient)
Remember the awful game, “fire, dare and repeat?” The premise of the game is that one participant forces the other participant to contemplate some awful choice. Then, that other participant must make the choice and say the choice out loud to all those assembled. Sensitive people seldom finished that game. I was very good at the game. When I played against girls, I could almost always make them cry and drop out.
So, let’s play. Here’s my question to you: “Would you abandon your newborn child–your only child–to save yourself and your spouse from those who would surely kill you both because of your religious beliefs?” Let me hold up a photo of the baby for you to see as you make your choice. “Yes” or “No.” For a real life version of that “game,” read Chris Dunker’s article.
The rule of law. Or maybe the absence of Haldol.