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Sunday, September 25, 2005

"Roberts 2008" presidential campaign kicks off in Newsweek

I was indeed ready for some comic relief from Rita, and (via Howard Bashman's How Appealing) I've found it in this irredeemably silly bit from Newsweek's Eleanor Clift:

Roberts has led such a charmed life that heading the Supreme Court may not be the end of the road for him. Sid Davis, former Washington bureau chief for NBC news, has a recurring dream that Roberts will become president someday. This is the scenario: Roberts looks like William Holden, a Hollywood leading man when Ronald Reagan was still a B actor. A son of privilege with a Kennedyesque family, he recalls the heady days of Camelot. He’s a man of great intellect, and in about 10 years time, maybe longer, he’ll be bored with the high court, and a Republican Party starved for charisma will draft him to run for president. “I’ve been floating the idea and people think I’m nuts, but I don’t think I’m nuts,” says Davis.

I suppose the reference to NBC's Sid Davis as having come up with this nonsense was intended to make Ms. Clift look less silly than if she'd originated it. And I think there are indeed many in the mainstream media who — like their allies on the Democratic side of the aisle in the Senate — are utterly flummoxed by how thoroughly, and with what apparent ease, Chief Justice-presumptive John G. Roberts, Jr. has demolished the reflexive anti-Dubya efforts to oppose his nomination. I suppose it ought not be a surprise, then, when they engage in fabulous and implausible speculation that John Roberts might therefore similarly slay any type of opposition he might meet for any governmental position.

Still, that Ms. Clift and her editors at Newsweek could devote bandwidth to this sort of fantasy is an indicator of how thoroughly they perceive the Supreme Court and the rule of law to be just another variety of political game. John Roberts' career has been that of a secular monk dedicated to the study and preservation of pure law at its most highly distilled and refined level. It was his absolute dedication to and mastery of that realm which enabled him to shrug off every political entreaty or demand thrown at him by any senator. But members of the mainstream media are like ex-jock football commentators being asked to speak intelligently on, say, architecture or origami.

How long will it be before the mainstream media begin labeling Supreme Court Justices like they do senators — "Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr. (R-IN)"? How long before they start running breathless Justice-by-Justice opinion polling: "An exclusive new MSNBC/WaPo poll reveals that if a Senate confirmation hearing were held tomorrow, Associate Justice Clarence Thomas would lose by a better than two-to-one margin to either Harvard Law's Professor Larry Tribe or Boston Legal's Alan Shore (as played by James Spader)!" Mr. Spader is approximately as likely a Supreme Court candidate as Judge Roberts is a presidential candidate.

Posted by Beldar at 10:46 AM in Law (2006 & earlier), Politics (2006 & earlier) | Permalink


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(1) Roy Lofquist made the following comment | Sep 25, 2005 12:46:34 PM | Permalink

Dear Sirs,

This is all too typical of what passes for commentary in the elite media. Left and right. Every word or action by anybody is analyzed to determine its political motivation or consequence.

This is narcisstic projection by those who prosper by ingratiating themselves to the schedulers and social doyens. It is an extremely exclusive insular club. These people can't conceive that public figures might act on principle or faithfulness to their obligations of office. It is almost entirely fatuous twaddle.


(2) Brian Kennedy made the following comment | Sep 25, 2005 2:46:39 PM | Permalink

Very nicely put, Beldar. I especially liked the analogy of Roberts' life as that of "a secular monk dedicated to the study and preservation of pure law." Too damn straight.
It's sad that so many in this, as Roy put it, "elite club" are unable fathom that someone may be operating from anything other than the basest of principles.
BTW, many in the "media elite" are, in fact, ex-high school jocks and/or cheerleaders and did not necessarily get where they are by dint of intellectual capacity.

(3) Dana Greenlee made the following comment | Sep 25, 2005 5:23:55 PM | Permalink

Hope you don't mind but I've excerpted a portion of your entry and linked to you from "Recent News" at http://Boston-Legal.org.

(4) ELC made the following comment | Sep 27, 2005 9:53:27 AM | Permalink

How long will it be before the mainstream media begin labeling Supreme Court Justices like they do senators — "Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr. (R-IN)"? Well, that would fit in with media's view of the courts as a political branch of government. What we really need is something like this: "Dan Rather (D-CBS) reporting". That would fit in with mainstream media being one branch of the Democratic Establishment.

(5) abelard made the following comment | Sep 28, 2005 10:49:04 PM | Permalink

Amen, ELC. As one formerly addicted to CNBC, I've grown annoyed with the SOX commentary about the presence or absence of theoretical conflicts of interests. The risks of conflict are much greater with the 4th estate: similar disclosures should be required.

(6) anthony smith made the following comment | Dec 1, 2005 10:38:05 AM | Permalink

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