We’d pay a king’s ransom for an update of the music video for “Miami.” Instead of showing Will Smith frolicking with bikini-clad beauties, the new version would feature Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Alito, shaking their bon-bons with surgically-enhanced sirens.
If this sounds unlikely, consider: Winter is still weeks away, but Supreme Court justices are already flocking to Miami.
Late last month, Justice Samuel A. Alito paid a visit, to swear in his former clerk, Alex Acosta, as U.S. Attorney. And just last night, Chief Justice John G. Roberts made an appearance, addressing an audience of 3,000 at the University of Miami. He also participated in an interview with Jan Crawford Greenburg of ABC News.
Accounts of the Chief’s visit are available from the Miami Herald, ABC News, and our pals at PrawfsBlawg (here and here). We’ve read ‘em all, so you don’t have to — although we do commend them to you, since they’re quite interesting.
Chief Justice Roberts spoke at length about how judges should not rule based on their “personal policy preferences,” and he expressed support for the separation of powers. Quelle surprise.
But he did share some more fun tidbits as well. Highlights from the write-ups, along with our commentary, after the jump.
[The Chief] clarified that, contra the press reports, his son Jack was not dancing but rather playing Spiderman during the conference in which 43 announced Judge Roberts’ nomination to the SCT.
When asked what powers the Chief had as against the other Justices, Roberts correctly noted he had little authority but that “you can always give all the tax cases to a justice if you want to punish him.” He said he tried to be fair in dividing the work load between the interesting cases and the “dogs.”
ERISA. Woof woof!
In terms of managing those judicial conferences, he provided some insight into the back and forth: no one is able to speak twice until all have spoken once. In trying to police the civility of the room, he has had to rule that facial expressions (such as a rolling of the eyes) count as a “second” talking, and they are to be kept to an absolute minimum.
Yeah, Nino, that means you.
From the Miami Herald:
[Chief Justice Roberts] hand-writes all of his opinions, leaving a clerk to handle typing duties.
Supreme Court clerks: The most overeducated typists in all the land.
From ABC News:
His nomination almost didn’t come off in the first place, as he revealed the chaos that occurred as he tried to rush home from a teaching stint in London when he was called back to Washington by the White House. He nearly missed a call from the president offering him the top legal job in the country because the taxi driver bringing him from the airport got lost.
Supreme Court justices: They’re just like us. Their taxi drivers get hopelessly lost, perhaps because they’re more focused on their foreign-language cell phone conversations than on where they’re going.
“I have the same vote everybody else does. And we decide things as a collegial body after consultation… The chief justice really doesn’t have a lot of authority of the sort that would cause you to refer to him as a boss.”
He can’t tell Scalia how to vote?
“I don’t think anyone can tell Justice Scalia what to do,” Roberts said.
It is hard not to like the 17th Chief Justice, both in a large crowd and in the more intimate gathering in which I met him afterwards. And for those watching at home, he had the whole crowd in stitches when he said that he “didn’t think that anyone could tell Justice Scalia what to do.” I probably won’t agree with him any more tomorrow than I did yesterday, but it’s really inspirational to see someone as thoughtful and introspective extolling the virtues of the profession that we’ve all chosen, especially those of us who teach…
It should come as no surprise that Professor Vladeck doesn’t agree with Chief Justice Roberts on many issues. After all, Vladeck clerked for two of the biggest left-wing judicial divas around: Judge Rosemary Barkett (11th Cir.), a former nun, and
Marsha Berzon (9th Cir.) She-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, a famously challenging boss.
Will Smith – Miami [YouTube]
Chief Justice Roberts inspires UM students [Miami Herald]
Roberts Says High Court Not About ‘Political Preferences’ [ABC News]
The Chief in Miami [PrawfsBlawg]
Chief Justice Roberts and… Justice Jackson? [PrawfsBlawg]
Earlier: The Eyes of the Law: Justice Alito Hits South Beach