So, how does Roberts look in the chief justice's chair? As though he were born to it, quite frankly. He is clearly prepared for argument. He listens intently to his colleagues' questions and watches them while they speak. His first exchange with Phillips shores up his credentials as a strict constructionist: "So, your approach introduces a third concept … and that's nowhere in the statute." He goes back and forth several times in this first colloquy and is quickly confident enough to retort: "That's my question." He juggles counsels' names, time limits, and a stack of briefs as though he's been doing it all his life. The fact that Roberts' umbilical cord was being cut when most of his colleagues were already practicing law is irrelevant. He is absolutely ready to lead them.Hyper-competent. That's the way I like my Supreme Court Justices.
October 3, 2005
He's not wearing the Rehnquistian gold stripes on his robe, Dahlia Lithwick reports: