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Chief Justice John Roberts

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Chief Justice John Roberts and the future of the U.S. Supreme Court Friends of the Northern Illinois University Libraries Speaker Series, DeKalb, IL, January 17, 2006. – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Chief Justice John Roberts


1
Chief Justice John Roberts
  • and the future of the U.S. Supreme Court

Friends of the Northern Illinois University
Libraries Speaker Series, DeKalb, IL, January 17,
2006. Artemus Ward Assistant Professor Department
of Political Science Northern Illinois University
2
Ideology and the Rehnquist Court (1986-2005)
Liberal Moderate Conservative L
--------------------------------------I-----------
--------------------------- R Brennan (D)
Stevens (R) OConnor (R) Rehnquist (R) Marshall
(D) Souter (R) Kennedy(R) Scalia
(R) Blackmun (R) Ginsburg (D) Thomas
(R) Breyer (D)
3
The Politics of Departure The OConnor and
Rehnquist Debacle
  • Rehnquist knew he was dying but failed to
    communicate with OConnor about staying on the
    bench. When he failed to retire at the end of the
    term in June, she retired. Why? The rule of 8
    The justices work to ensure there is only one
    vacancy at a time (particularly over the summer)
    to keep the Court as an institution as strong as
    possible.

4
The Politics of Departure The OConnor and
Rehnquist Debacle
  • Bush nominated Roberts to replace OConnor, fully
    expecting to elevate him to Chief Justice the
    following year or next when Rehnquist would step
    down. He would then fill Roberts seat (2 for 1).
  • Rehnquists death hastened the Bush plan, Roberts
    was nominated for Chief and OConnor was forced
    to remain on the Court.

5
John Roberts, Jr. The Heir Apparent
  • Editor, Harvard Law Review
  • Law Clerk to Justice Rehnquist
  • Legal positions in Regan and Bush I
    Administrations
  • Private Practice at Hogan Hartson. Experienced
    Supreme Court Advocate
  • Bush II appointed him Judge, U.S. Court of
    Appeals, DC Circuit (2003-2005).

6
Chief Justice John Roberts, Jr.
  • Age 50youngest Chief since John Marshall, age
    45, 1801.
  • First new member of the Court in over 11
    yearslongest stretch since 1823!
  • Lower court opinions suggest a conservative
    judicial minimalist, deferential to executive
    authority.

7
Harriet Miers The Crony
  • Selected for two reasons Gender and deferential
    to executive authority.
  • Failed because organized evangelicals saw her as
    at best a judicial moderate.
  • She was unable to demonstrate constitutional
    acumen and strong convictions.
  • Nomination was hurting an increasingly weakened
    Bush Administration.

8
Samuel Alito, Jr. Old No.3 Club
  • Editor, Yale Law Journal.
  • Court of Appeals Law Clerk.
  • Legal positions in Reagan Administration.
  • Experienced Supreme Court Advocate as Asst.
    Solicitor General.
  • Bush I appointed him Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals
    (1990-present).

9
Justice Alito
  • Age 54
  • Like Justice Kennedy and former Justice Blackmun,
    Alito is the latest member of the Old No.3
    Club.
  • Lower Court decisions suggest a solid
    conservative.

10
Ideology and the Roberts Court (2005)
Liberal Moderate Conservative L
--------------------------------------I-----------
--------------------------- R Brennan (D)
Stevens (R) Roberts (R) Alito (R) Marshall (D)
Souter (R) Kennedy(R) Scalia
(R) Blackmun (R) Ginsburg (D) Thomas
(R) Breyer (D)
11
Conclusion
  • The 2008 Presidential election will be decisive
    for the future of the Roberts Court with Justice
    Stevens (4/20/20) and possibly Justice Ginsburg
    (3/15/33) departing before the 2012 election.
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