Federal Judges, Hair, John Roberts, Money, SCOTUS, Supreme Court

Chief Justice John Roberts: Just Like Us!

Despite his status as an Article III demigod, Chief Justice John Roberts is a man of the people. Instead of reclining on a divan while eating frozen grapes fed to him by eunuch law clerks, which is how I’d roll if I were the Chief Justice of the United States, JGR patronizes places like Cosi, Au Bon Pain, and Carmine’s.

And the chief even goes to Starbucks — where His Honor recently revealed something surprising about himself….

Here’s a report from Al Kamen of the Washington Post:

Roberts usually uses a credit card to buy his morning coffee at his local Starbucks in suburban Maryland.

But on Tuesday, when he needed to be extra sharp for the arguments that day over California’s ban of same-sex marriage, he had to pay in cash.

Seems someone had gotten his credit-card numbers, he told the cashier, and he was obliged to cancel the card.

Why did Chief Justice Roberts decide to volunteer this information? Even if cash is dying a slow death, it’s still used quite widely. An ordinary barista wouldn’t bat an eyelash at a cash payment. Sadly, an ordinary barista might not even recognize the Chief Justice.

(My suspicion: the barista was no ordinary barista. This recent law school graduate, well-versed in the federal judiciary, was smart enough to recognize the Chief Justice and observant enough to notice the divergence from JGR’s normal payment pattern. A friendly question prompted the Chief Justice’s revealing reply.)

As it turns out, Chief Justice Roberts was pretty much telling everyone he met about his brush with credit card fraud. See also the Huffington Post:

Roberts was overheard by The Huffington Post making a similar claim at a D.C. barber shop on Wednesday, noting that the theft had apparently originated from a suspect in Kentucky.

Does Chief Justice Roberts see a barber or a beauty culturist? If you know where the Chief gets his hair cut, what his favorite drink at Starbucks is, or other fun tidbits about JGR, feel free to drop us a line.

The news that Chief Justice Roberts was hit by identity theft, while interesting, is not super-shocking. Given his common name, he was a vulnerable victim. There are lots of other John Robertses out there — see, e.g., the CNN Fox News journalist — which may explain why the Chief goes by “John G. Roberts Jr.”

And things could have been worse. Fraudulent charges are not your responsibility if your credit card is stolen. Having to trade in your credit card for a new one, while annoying — especially if you have to change all your auto-pay settings — is not the end of the world. It’s not as bad as being robbed at knife point or attacked while jogging, things that have happened to other sitting justices. It’s only slightly worse than falling victim to a “phishing” attack, which happened last year to one Supreme spouse.

Chief Justice Roberts, I’m going to be in D.C. next week (to speak at the ABA Business Law Section Spring Meeting). I’d love to take you and your law clerks out to Starbucks if you’d have the time. The coffee’s on me.

Chief Justice hit by credit-card fraud [In the Loop / Washington Post]
John Roberts Hit By Credit Card Fraud [Huffington Post]
Why Chief Justice Roberts couldn’t use his credit card at Starbucks [ABA Journal]

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