Friday, May 29, 2009
Toobin's article on Chief Justice John Roberts in the New Yorker is worth a read, especially in light of current discussions about a person's background and judicial philosophy. Toobin writes that Roberts said “Judges are like umpires,” during his confirmation hearing, continuing,
Toobin writes about the ways in which Robert's career marked him:
In private practice and in the first Bush Administration, a substantial portion of his work consisted of representing the interests of corporate defendants who were sued by individuals. For example, shortly before Roberts became a judge, he successfully argued in the Supreme Court that a woman who suffered from carpal-tunnel syndrome could not win a recovery from her employer, Toyota, under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Likewise, Roberts won a Supreme Court ruling that the family of a woman who died in a fire could not use the federal wrongful-death statute to sue the city of Tarrant, Alabama. In a rare loss in his thirty-nine arguments before the Court, Roberts failed to persuade the Justices to uphold a sixty-four-million-dollar fine against the United Mine Workers, which was imposed by a Virginia court after a strike. One case that Roberts argued during his tenure in the Solicitor General’s office in George H. W. Bush’s Administration, Lujan v. National Wildlife Federation, seems to have had special resonance for him.
According to Toobin, who does a nice job of explaining standing, Roberts supports "gatekeeping" doctrines. There is much else here, including discussions of recent oral arguments in the voting rights case and recent decisions such as Seattle Independent Schools and Boumediene v. Bush (dissenting).