Earlier tonight, President Bush nominated Judge John G. Roberts, Jr., of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, to become an Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. Article III Groupie is pleased as punch by the President's choice. After all, you can't go wrong by picking a Superhottie of the Federal Judiciary to serve on the SCOTUS! A3G also feels somewhat vindicated, having identified Judge Roberts's nomination as a strong possibility back in this post (comparing the Supreme Court nomination process to the Oscars).
Now that everyone is dying for more information about Judge Roberts, who is more qualified than A3G to get "underneath his robe"? As she previously did for then-Judge Michael Chertoff, A3G has prepared the following quiz, which will allow you to test your knowledge about Judge John Roberts. It's derived largely from information obtained from Judge Roberts's Senate questionnaire, submitted in connection with his D.C. Circuit nomination, and his financial disclosure form. (Both of these documents are available as pdf files from Courting Influence.)
So, for your entertainment and edification, here are 14 trivia questions about Judge Roberts. Keep track of how many questions you answer correctly, and see how you measure up using the scale that appears at the end of the quiz. After taking the quiz, you'll know all there is to know about this fabulous judicial celebrity!
Let's get started, shall we?
1. John Glover Roberts was born to Jack and Rosemary Roberts on January 27, 1955, in Buffalo, New York. His father, an engineer by training, worked for Bethlehem Steel (as noted in this profile). In terms of siblings, Judge Roberts has:
(a) one sister
(b) a brother and a sister
(c) two brothers
(d) three sisters
(e) none; he's an only child
Answer: (d). In his remarks at the news conference announcing his nomination, Judge Roberts thanked his three sisters -- Cathy, Peggy and Barbara -- for their support. When Senate Democrats start grilling Judge Roberts about his commitment to "women's issues" (read: abortion on demand), expect Judge Roberts to cite his growing up in a household with four women as giving him a sensitivity to women's concerns.
Update: He is not related to Julia Roberts (see item #5).
2. In terms of his religious beliefs, Judge Roberts is:
Answer: (b). Judge Roberts's Catholicism could have been a factor that moved him to the top of President Bush's shortlist, insofar as it might suggest a willingness to revisit Roe v. Wade (which would please the Republican Party's conservative base). Of course, being a devout Catholic could also make it more difficult for Judge Roberts to win confirmation, if Senate Democrats suspect that his personal religious views might affect his judicial decisionmaking.
3. Although he was born in Buffalo, Judge Roberts grew up in Indiana, to which the Roberts family moved after his father was transferred to run a steel plant there. During high school, he was the captain of:
(a) the football team
(b) the baseball team
(c) the chess team
(d) the academic decathlon team
(e) no team; he focused on his schoolwork
Answer: (a), impressively enough. How well-rounded of him! In addition to playing football, John Roberts also wrestled for his high school team. Of course, given his brilliance and subsequent academic achievement, one can't be faulted for guessing (c), (d), or (e).
John Roberts is clearly a man who has it all: a razor-sharp mind, great good looks, athleticism, a loving and adorable family, and mucho dinero (as discussed infra). If Judge Roberts weren't such a nice and decent person, we would all really hate him!
4. To pay his way through Harvard College -- from which he graduated in only three years, summa cum laude, with a degree in history -- Judge Roberts spent summers working in:
(a) a law library
(b) a steel mill
(c) a physician's office
(e) a department store (men's neckwear)
Answer: (b), surprisingly enough. A3G would pay good money for pictures of a young, sweaty John Roberts toiling in a steel mill, in a hard hat and tank top! As you can see from the college yearbook photo at right, reprinted in the Harvard Crimson, John Roberts was just as good-looking back then as he is today. (In fact, like the vast majority of human beings, Judge Roberts was arguably better-looking when he was younger. Whether you agree with this statement depends on whether you place greater value on a youthful face, which he had back then, or a better haircut, which he has today.)
As for answer (d), Chippendales -- well, a girl can dream, can't she?
(a) Judge Carl McGowan (D.C. Cir.), then Justice Marshall
(b) Judge David Bazelon (D.C. Cir.), then Justice Powell
(c) Judge Henry J. Friendly (2d Cir.), then Justice Rehnquist
(d) Judge J. Skelly Wright (D.C. Cir.), then Justice Rehnquist
Answer: (c); this question was a "gimme." It is widely known that Judge Roberts used to work at Friendly's and that he clerked for William H. Rehnquist, who was then an Associate Justice. What's interesting is that now that Chief Justice Rehnquist is sticking around One First Street, the Chief might end up serving on the Court alongside his former clerk. (Perhaps the possibility of serving together with his former clerk, with whom he remains close, was an incentive for WHR to hang in there for one more term?)
The phenomenon of former law clerks serving alongside their judges happens with some regularity on the circuit courts. There's Samuel Alito and Leonard Garth on the Third Circuit, Eric Clay and Damon Keith on the Sixth Circuit, and Diane Sykes and Terence Evans on the Seventh Circuit. The Ninth Circuit has at least three such pairings: Richard Clifton and the late Herbert Choy, She-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named and James Browning, and superhottie Kozinski and then-Judge Kennedy. But, as one curious UTR reader asks, when was the last time it happened at the Supreme Court (if ever)?
Update: A well-informed reader offers this enlightening response: "Never. There have been four Supreme Court law clerks who were later Justices: Justice White (clerked for Chief Justice Vinson), Chief Justice Rehnquist (clerked for Justice Jackson), Justice Stevens (clerked for Justice Rutledge), and Justice Breyer (clerked for Justice Goldberg). A scan of the lists reflects that there is no overlap between the terms of service of any of these pairs of names."
6. After his clerkships, from 1981 to 1986, Judge Roberts spent several years as a government lawyer. He served in:
(a) the Department of Justice's super-elite Office of Legal Counsel
(b) the DOJ's highly influential Office of Legal Policy
(c) the DOJ, as a special assistant to Attorney General William French Smith, followed by the White House Counsel's Office
(d) the justly celebrated U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York
(e) the Solicitor General's Office (which needs no adjectives)
Answer: (c). Judge Roberts served from August 1981 to November 1982 as Special Assistant to Attorney General Smith, and from November 1982 to May 1986 as Associate Counsel to President Ronald Reagan, in the White House Counsel's Office. To those of you who selected (e), it wasn't a bad choice -- Judge Roberts did work in the SG's office (although not at this point in his career).
7. From 1986 to 1989, Judge Roberts worked for which exceedingly prestigious, white-shoe Washington law firm:
(a) Hogan & Hartson
(b) Covington & Burling
(c) Williams & Connolly
(d) Wilmer Cutler & Pickering
(e) Kirkland & Ellis (D.C. office)
Answer: (a). Judge Roberts joined Hogan & Hartson as an associate in May 1986, and he was elected a general partner of the firm in October 1987. He resigned his partnership in October 1989 to assume the post of Principal Deputy Solicitor General, but he returned to the partnership in January 1993. He remained at Hogan, where he headed up the firm's appellate practice, until his 2003 appointment to the D.C. Circuit.
Response (e) is not a bad answer, given the proliferation of high-powered conservative lawyers who have passed through, and continue to populate, the halls of Kirkland & Ellis's Washington office (e.g., Ken Starr).
8. From 1989 to 1993, Judge Roberts served as the Principal Deputy Solicitor General of the United States, under Solicitor General Kenneth W. Starr. During his time in the SG's office, he worked on many prominent cases before the Supreme Court.
Which of the following cases from Judge Roberts's stint in the SG's office is NOT mentioned in the Senate questionnaire he submitted in connection with his D.C. Circuit nomination, in response to the request for descriptions of "the ten most significant litigated matters which you personally handled"?
(a) United States v. Kokinda
(b) Lujan v. National Wildlife Federation
(c) ICC v. Boston & Maine Corp.
(d) Rust v. Sullivan
Answer: (d). Quelle surprise! If not for his involvement in Rust v. Sullivan, in which he co-authored a Supreme Court brief arguing that the sacred cow of Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided, Judge Roberts would have a 99 percent chance of confirmation (instead of the 90 percent chance that he currently enjoys).
9. In January 1993, Judge Roberts returned to Hogan & Hartson, where he cemented his well-deserved reputation as one of the most talented members of the Supreme Court bar, as well as one of the nation's top appellate lawyers. He also raked in some serious dough. In 2003, the last year he was a partner at Hogan, Judge Roberts earned:
(e) over $2 million
Answer: (d). According to his 2004 financial disclosure statement, he earned $1,044,399.54 in gross income from Hogan & Harton in 2003. Not bad, especially for an appellate lawyer!
(Yes, A3G realizes that top appellate practitioners -- such as lawyer/bloggers Howard Bashman and Tom Goldstein, as well as former SG Ted Olson (whose recent summer party at his palatial estate yielded judicial sight-ations galore) -- do just fine for themselves. But let's face facts: appellate law might be interesting, intellectually challenging, and quite prestigious, but it is not where the money's at within the legal profession.)
10. While we're on the subject of Judge Roberts's finances, his most recent reported net worth is:
(a) $1 million to $2 million
(b) $2 million to $3 million
(c) $3 million to $4 million
(d) $4 million to $5 million
(e) over $5 million
Answer: (c), namely, $3.8 million. If that strikes you as low relative to his income, recall that Judge Roberts hasn't been earning a million dollars a year for his entire 25-year career. Those fat Hogan & Hartson paychecks were diluted by several years of government-service penury. And people don't join the D.C. Circuit for the pay ($171,800), baby -- they do it for the prestige!
Of course, Judge Roberts does enjoy significant investment income. His financial disclosure form reveals a healthy portfolio of well-diversified investments, consisting largely of blue-chip stocks and bonds (but also including a "1/8 Interest in Cottage, Knocklong, Limerick, Ireland").
Update: Give yourself a point if you chose item (e); a more recent financial disclosure form indicates that Judge Roberts's net worth has increased to almost $5.3 million. For more details, click here, here, or here.
11. During his time at Hogan & Hartson, Judge Roberts did a little lobbying work, in addition to his appellate litigation practice. Judge Roberts loobbied on behalf of which of the following organizations:
(a) the NRA
(b) the Western Peanut Growers Association
(c) the Christian Coalition
(d) the AARP
(e) the American Council of Life Insurance
Answer: (b). Thus, as noted here by Sean Sirrine of Objective Justice, John Roberts "worked for peanuts"! In the late 1990s, Judge Roberts lobbied on behalf of the Western Peanut Growers Association and the Panhandle Peanut Growers Association, in support of the Warehouse Storage Loan Program and the Peanut Price Support Program (thrilling stuff).
12. Judge Roberts's wife, Jane Roberts, works as:
(a) an attorney
(b) a journalist
(c) a physician (OB/GYN)
(d) a homemaker
(e) a management consultant for defense contractors
Answer: (a). An accomplished lawyer in her own right, Jane Sullivan Roberts, 50, is a professional development partner at the distinguished firm of Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman. Previously, she "practice[d] with the firm’s communications and global sourcing groups, concentrating in representing clients in sophisticated transactions involving technology. She has extensive experience in representing clients in the buying and selling of space-related goods and services, including companies involved in the development of multi-billion dollar global and regional satellite systems."
As a partner at Pillsbury Winthrop, where profits per partner exceed $750,000, Mrs. Roberts surely makes more than the $171,800 that her husband earns as a D.C. Circuit judge (or what he would earn if confirmed as an Associate Justice, namely, $194,200). She came from the Shaw Pittman side of the Pillsbury Winthrop/Shaw Pittman merger. The outfit she's wearing in the picture of her on the firm website (see left) -- a dark suit accessorized with a pale scarf -- seems like it would have been a better choice than the bright pink number she wore to last night's White House press conference.
Jane Sullivan Roberts -- a graduate of Holy Cross College (where she serves on the Board of Trustees), Melbourne University, and Brown -- has an impressive educational pedigree (even if it's not as jaw-droppingly fabulous as her husband's). She is known as a devout Catholic, and she reportedly served at one point as an executive of Feminists for Life.
John and Jane Roberts were married on July 27, 1996. (Early wishes for a happy anniversary, Judge and Mrs. Roberts!) They have two adopted children, Josie and Jack (who is presumably named after his grandfather, and therefore John G. Roberts, III). The Roberts family lives in Chevy Chase, Maryland, in a large, elegant, white-brick colonial home (whose lawn Judge Roberts mows himself).
13. Judge Roberts enjoys which of the following activities in his spare time?
(a) fox hunting
(c) reading and golf
(d) fiction writing
(e) competitive bridge
Answer: (c). Response (a) is true of Judge Roberts's colleague, Chief Judge Douglas H. Ginsburg (whose other other hobby derailed his own Supreme Court candidacy). Response (b) is true of another conservative D.C. Circuit jurist, Judge Laurence H. Silberman, and response (d) would be appropriate for Judge David B. Sentelle. Response (e) applies to champion bridge player Judge Amalya L. Kearse (2d Cir.).
14. Judge Roberts belongs to all of the following organizations, except for:
(a) the Federalist Society
(b) the Republican National Lawyers Association
(c) the Metropolitan Club
(d) the Rotary Club
(e) the Robert Trent Jones Golf Club
Answer: (a) or (d). Judge Roberts's status as a member of the RNLA reassures conservatives of his bona fides, despite his lack of a lengthy paper trail (which might otherwise suggest Souter-ish tendencies). Although he's not a member of the Federalist Society, members of the Society, including executive vice president Leonard Leo, vouched for Judge Roberts's conservatism. As for his membership in the Robert Trent Jones Golf Club, does anyone out there know his handicap?
(Update: The preceding paragraph reflects corrections. An earlier version of this quiz erroneously reported that Judge Roberts belongs to the Federalist Society. As noted here, in an article by Charles Lane for the Washington Post, this was incorrect.)
(Update of the update: Actually, Judge Roberts maintains that he does not belong to the Federalist Society, despite the Post article reporting that he was listed in 1997 as a member of the Society's Washington Lawyers Steering Committee. The situation remains a little confusing, however, so give yourself a point for either (a) or (d).)
So, how did you do? Giving yourself one point for each correct answer, measure yourself against the following scale:
14: one of the Elect (perfect score required)
12-13: feeder judge clerk
10-11: circuit court clerk
8-9: district court clerk
7-6: state court clerk
0-5: most foul of the Great Unwashed
As revealed by the above discussion, Judge John Roberts is a truly amazing individual. He's exceedingly accomplished, attractive, and affable, and he would be an excellent addition to the Supreme Court. Let's do everything we can to make his confirmation a reality!