September 22, 2007

"I'll take care of John Roberts"/"You just leave John Roberts to me."

In "The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court," Jeffrey Toobin tells the same anecdote twice, with different quotes.

Page 301:
O'Connor loved Roberts... [S]he thought that Roberts's good looks and charisma projected exactly the right image.... But O'Connor was hardly, as some thought, a starstruck schoolgirl. At a meeting to plan a conference she was hosting, someone wondered if the chief justice might be asked to attend. With icy confidence, O'Connor said, "I'll take care of John Roberts."
Page 326:
In September 2006, [Sandra Day O'Connor] sponsored, organized, and hosted a conference at Georgetown University Law Center on judicial independence.... O'Connor's self-confidence was intact. At a planning meeting for the Georgetown event, several people wondered whether the new chief justice might attend. "You just leave John Roberts to me," O'Connor promised, and the new chief dutifully paid homage.
Well, maybe she said both things, but I have to doubt that Toobin meant to use that anecdote twice and think that if anyone had noticed they wouldn't leave it with two quotes. And I think it's fair to suspect that Toobin assembles material into quotes that are not really quotes.

He also -- and this is characteristic of the entire book -- takes little details and uses them to make statements about the psychology of the Justices. At least in this case, he doesn't slip up and use the statement (whatever its exact words) to demonstrate two different things. The meaning of the shred of evidence is the same on both pages. It shows self-confidence.

But really, even to use this anecdote once is pretty weak. Naturally, if O'Connor is involved in planning a conference, she's in the best position to invite Supreme Court Justices, and if "someone" or "several people" mentioned inviting Roberts, she should be the one to do it. How much confidence -- icy or toasty warm -- would that take? Or is it something about the precise words? Whatever the precise words were....

35 comments:

Trooper York said...

No. You're a smart boy, Roberts. But I know how to take care of smart boys. I hate your guts, you smart college guys! I've been seeing your kind around since I was ten years old... working as a busboy. "Oh busboy, it seems my friend has thrown up on the table. Clean up that mess, boy, will'ya?" And then when I went to sea as a steward... people poking at you with umbrellas. "Oh, boy!", "You, boy!", "Careful with that luggage, boy!" And I took it. I took it for years! But I don't have to take it any more. There's a war on, and I'm captain of this vessel, and now YOU can take it for a change! The worst thing I can do to you... is to keep you right here, Mister, and here is where you're going to stay. Now, GET OUT!
(Capt. Morton, Mister Roberts 1955)

rcocean said...

But if:

Mr. Lt(j.g)Roberts = Chief Justice Roberts then;

Captain Morton = George W. Bush.

And Ensign Pulver = Who?

Trooper York said...

David Souter...because they both like to cry.

Paddy O. said...

Sounds like he's making her into a superhero.

"You just leave John Roberts to me," O'Connor promised, then jumped into the air and flew to Roberts' hidden lair. The crowd gasped at her feat, but knew for certain that, finally, John Roberts would no longer be an issue

Maxine Weiss said...

"definition of working-class:

if two or more people in your neighborhood regularly park their car on their lawn, you don’t live in a middle-class neighborhood."

---D.J. Waldie

Maxine Weiss said...

CHILDHOOD IN THE LATE 50s:

"...there was this sense that every mom was your mom, every house was your house. Kids would sort of drift into someone’s house, scour the kitchen for a snack, a drink, a glass of water, some punch, whatever, do something there in the backyard, play a pick-up game, be hustled out by a mom, back into the street to drift into another house. And this would go on all day or all afternoon until early evening. Sadly, there are more expectations about structure in people’s lives [today]. Instead of knocking around the neighborhood, kids are in soccer camp or baseball camp or playing Nintendo. And there’s fewer children, "

---D.J. Waldie

Maxine Weiss said...

http://www.americancity.org/article.php?id_article=101

Revenant said...

Mr. Lt(j.g)Roberts = Chief Justice Roberts then; Captain Morton = George W. Bush. And Ensign Pulver = Who?

Captain Morton would be the Senate, which kept him from serving back in '92. Right now we're at the ending portion of the movie, where he finally gets the job he wants after all.

So, presumably Chief Justice Roberts will be killed by the Japanese sometime later this year.

Luckyoldson said...

Ann,
What is this rather insane obsession with Toobin and his new book?

Is there a point to this?

rcocean said...

Ann,

What is this rather insane obsession with Toobin and his new book?


Well,isn't Althouse is a Con law professor?

I appreciate all these posts. The SCOTUS is one the most important government institutions in this country and few books claim to give us the "inside" story.

Its certainly more interesting than having posts about "Bush Lied/People died' or Scooter Libby .

rhhardin said...

Women are social organizers, when under stress. It makes everything more complicated and any particular problem disappears in the rising noise.

Normally authors don't follow them around, is all.

Fletch said...

luckyoldmoron-

What is this rather insane obsession with Toobin and his new book?

Why do you post everyday at "Althouse"?

Confucius say, "Look inward, grasshopper."

Ralph said...

Does O'Connor have breathing problems and a deep voice? Toobin makes her sound like Darth Vader.

SMGalbraith said...

What is this rather insane obsession with Toobin and his new book?

Tiresome isn't it LOS?

I guess you'll just have to find another place to post your fascinating insights into domestic and world affairs.

Darn.

I know I speak for legions of posters who have come here, you will be missed.

Happy hunting, my friend.

SMG

Luckyoldson said...

rcocean - fletch - galbraith,

The three suckasses come to the defense of the..."Queen."

Notice how many posts there are on this...thread...addressing one of the most "important government institutions in this country"?

Ann's comments have little to do with SCOTUS and much to do with Toobin.

And, God...I hope you all get a cookie.

*And be sure to shove them right up your ass.

Luckyoldson said...

rcocean - fletch - galbraith,

When is the Queen's book on the Supreme Court coming out?

Prosecutorial Indiscretion said...

Lucky,

Stop wasting our bandwidth.

Thanks!

peter hoh said...

The title to this post sounds like it would make a lovely back and forth in a Gilbert and Sullivan tune.

Ralph said...

Yes, I am a judge
And a good judge, too.
"Trial by Jury"
Ha, beat Trooper York.

rcocean said...

LOS,

Why not start your own blog, instead of being a disgruntled parasite?

Here are some suggested topics for the LOS blog:

1) George Bush - Crazy or Mad.
2) George Bush -Devil or Satan.
3) George Bush - stupid or Dumb
4) Ann Coulter- how bad is she
5) WMD
6) Scooter Libby
7) Bush Lied; People Died
8) Fox News -Evil or stupid
9) How bad is Fox News, really
10) Iran contra
11) The federal prosecutor Scandal.
12) Valarie Phlame - hero or saint
13) Should we impeach George Bush
14) Republicans - racist or bigots
15) Conservatives - Homophobic or just gay haters
16) Haliburton
17) October Surprise
18) Bush NG story
19) Dan Rather - victim of CBS or George Bush
20) Karl Rove - how evil is he.

From Inwood said...

Fake but accurate.

It was seared, seared into Jeff's memory.

Wait 'til you get to the page where Roberts shoots square bullets accurately from a swerving Bradley aimed at a dog while trying to heckle O'Connor! It was excerpted in TNR.

How come no troll references to Bush here, like "Hey you rightwing nuts, at least Toobin writes his own fables. Bush has to have them written for him!"

ron st.amant said...

See, in that first quote I got O'Connor less James Cagney and more Kathy Bates in Misery...

"O, Mister Chief Justice...I'm your number one fan..."

Next thing you know Roberts is in a cabin, on morphine, hobbled, and having to rewrite Roe v Wade on a beat up Smith-Corona...

downtownlad said...

Is there any evidence whatsoever that this is made up, or are people just making the accusation first and then looking for evidence second.

Seems to me that its perfectly reasonable that this from the same quote, i.e.

"I'll take care of John Roberts. You just leave John Roberts to me."

Maybe somebody should ask the author before accusing him of lying.

Trooper York said...

Hey guys, I have just come from the Brooklyn meet up of the commentators on the blog, and I must say that that the professor and her son are very cool. So just give them a break and let the convesation flow, and don't make it so personal...it's not cool and makes you look like the douches that you are...dial it back a little...ok.

Revenant said...

Seems to me that its perfectly reasonable that this from the same quote, i.e.

Why, one might almost say... "maybe she said both things". Were one so inclined.

Is there any evidence whatsoever that this is made up

There is no evidence to support either the truth or the falsity of the sentence, so we have to guess what is most likely. Like Ann, I find it "fair to suspect" that O'Connor did, in fact, not respond to a simple question with a pair of cliched and melodramatic sentences which were then, for some odd reason, quoted individually in separate parts of the same book. It is, indeed, "fair to suspect" that Toobin is doing something that has been commonly done in these sorts of political-insider books since at least the days of "All the President's Men", and put in "quotes" that aren't actually direct quotations, but which capture the gist of what was said.

Andrew said...

Wait, I'm confused. Is Althouse writing a book about Queen?

Because that would be way cool.

Oh, and who is the potted palm? Maybe it's Gonzalez?

Revenant said...

Oh, and who is the potted palm? Maybe it's Gonzalez?

Well, he DID get thrown overboard...

Luckyoldson said...

Prosecutorial Indiscretion said..."Lucky, Stop wasting our bandwidth."

It's not bandwidth...moron.

Luckyoldson said...

downtownlad said..."Is there any evidence whatsoever that this is made t up, or are people just making the accusation first and then looking for evidence second."

Of course not.

This is nothing more than the high-pitched whine of right wing blowhards.

Luckyoldson said...

Trooper York said..."Hey guys, I have just come from the Brooklyn meet up of the commentators on the blog, and I must say that that the professor and her son are very cool."

WOW!!!!!

Get autographs?

Posters?

Tattoos?

Holy water?

Luckyoldson said...

rcocean said..."LOS, Why not start your own blog, instead of being a disgruntled parasite?"

You mean "stop disagreeing with us."

Join the Bush Suckfest.

Hail the Queen.

vnjagvet said...

It's time for the silent treatment for LOS.

His hook is just too dull to catch anymore countercomments.

Trooper York said...

Don't get the impression that you arouse my anger. You see, one can only be angry with those he respects.
Richard M. Nixon

downtownlad said...

You mean "stop disagreeing with us."

Join the Bush Suckfest.

Hail the Queen.


Too funny. Interesting, because I can't recall one reality-based commenter ever telling a wingnutter to stop commenting here. But you here this type of attack constantly against the reality based community.

jeff said...

"reality based community"

This would make far more sense if this community was more, you know, based in reality. Self identifying doesn't make it so. It's just hard for some of us to understand why you bother posting where you clearly agree with nothing including the editorial policy of the host. If you're here to enlighten those with who you disagree, it would make more sense if you actually presenting a coherent case. Hint, coherent case doesn't equal "fascist wingnuts SUCK".