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Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Sept. 13, 2005 / 9 Elul, 5765

Role models for Roberts

By Jonathan Turley

Turley
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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | With the formal end of the Rehnquist Court, John Roberts will by definition hearken a new era on the Supreme Court if confirmed as the 17th chief justice of the United States. Before there is a "Roberts Court," however, there must first be a clearly defined Chief Justice Roberts. With the start of his Senate hearings, Roberts is beginning the transformation from a circuit judge to chief justice. In doing so, he might want to consider the models left by 16 great and not-so-great predecessors.

The role of chief justice has changed dramatically as the court itself has changed. The first chief, John Jay (1789-95), appeared to hate the job. After little more than five years, Jay accepted New York's governorship rather than continue on a court that he described as "so defective" as to deny any "public confidence and respect."

With the elimination of onerous circuit-riding duties (requiring justices to travel to remote courts) and an increase in annual salary to more than $200,000 (up from $4,000 in 1789), the position is much more appealing today.

Yet, despite its impressive title, most of 53 statutory duties of the chief justice are fairly mundane, such as picking printers for decisions and maintaining the court building, budget and grounds.

In terms of creating a legacy, one privilege stands out. By tradition, the chief justice is considered the most senior member voting on cases. When the justices vote, the most senior justice on each side selects the justice to write the opinion for his side. Thus, the chief justice always selects the author —including himself —of at least one opinion in a case. It is like a major league batter being able to go to the plate as often as he wishes —and only in the most ideal conditions for a home run. Indeed, the great Chief Justice John Marshall (1801-35) was great in part because he insisted on both unanimity and authoring most of the opinions himself.

What makes for a great chief justice seems to be a mix of luck and timing. Some, such as Earl Warren (1953-69), hit the court at the right time with the right colleagues to hand down historic rulings on segregation and criminal justice.

Others show that a single mistake can doom a legacy. The fifth chief, Roger Taney (1836-64), was viewed as a great chief justice, yet he will forever be tarnished by his vote in the infamous Dred Scott decision (in which the court held that blacks could not be full citizens).

Beware the résumé

A great résumé is not a predicator of a great chief. Both Warren and Charles Evans Hughes (1930-41) are considered great chief justices, but both had largely political, not legal, backgrounds.

Conversely, John Rutledge (1795) had a stellar résumé after serving on both the Supreme Court and as chief judge of the South Carolina Supreme Court. Even so, after receiving a recess appointment, he spent just four months as chief justice, hounded by congressional critics for his past political views and growing questions over his mental competency. Rutledge repeatedly attempted suicide by throwing himself into rivers.

Fortunately, Roberts can pick from less aquatic models:

  • The Marshall Model. Marshall was the model of chief justice as paterfamilias, the single paternalistic voice of the court. He laid the very foundation for the modern court as the ultimate authority on the interpretation of the law. Unlike Marshall, however, a modern chief has less authority to pressure unanimity, and modern associate justices are far more independent.

  • The Hughes Model. Hughes was the model as facilitator. As Roberts would, Hughes inherited a court in sharp political transition. But he remained popular with his colleagues and brought stability to the court, even in the face of President Franklin Roosevelt's failed court-packing scheme. Despite a divided court, Hughes often achieved consensus and brought better administration to the court.

  • The Warren Model. Warren was the model of the chief as dealmaker. Warren used his considerable political skills to "mass the court," persuade his colleagues to join in consensus rulings. Though Roberts is congenial, it is doubtful that he would feel comfortable in this type of Warren-like role.

  • The Burger Model. The 15th chief, Warren Burger (1969-86) was the model of the imperial chief justice. As a Rehnquist clerk on the Burger Court, Roberts saw the negative effects of this model firsthand. Burger was viewed as a heavy-handed chief who used powers such as case assignments to pressure or punish his colleagues.

  • The Rehnquist Model. Rehnquist was the model of chief as honest broker. Unlike Burger, he was widely respected for his fair distribution of cases —often giving historic opinions to others. Yet Rehnquist relied on ideological voting blocs to muscle through "revolutions" in areas such as federalism and the taking of private property.

Following his mentor

Roberts is likely to strive for a role like Hughes' but ultimately resemble his more ideological mentor, Rehnquist —relying on the emerging hard-right majority to carry the day in cases.

In the end, Roberts could prove to be one of the greats. First, he is young, and longevity can deepen the imprint of a chief justice on history. Second, he's likely to head a court with a stable conservative majority that, after decades of 5-4 decisions, would be able to reshape the laws in fundamental ways.

Finally, Roberts would take over the court during a time of great uncertainty and dangers. Great problems demand great decisions, and great decisions make for great justices. He may discover it is not necessary to seek out his legacy. He may find a legacy waiting for him at the start of the October term.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Jonathan Turley is a law professor at George Washington University. Click here to visit his website. Comment by clicking here.

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