Earlier today, Article III Groupie noticed a dramatic upward spike in traffic to her blog, fueled largely by Google searches like "John Roberts" adoption, john roberts children, "judge roberts" adopted children, etc. She also noticed a number of odd searches that combined the topics of the New York Times, adoption, and our fabulous Supreme Court nominee, Judge John G. Roberts, Jr. (such as "new york times" roberts adoption).*
A3G was somewhat puzzled by these searches. But then she came across this Wonkette post, which in turn directed her to this Drudge Report item, which indicated that the New York Times is investigating the adoption records of Judge and Mrs. Roberts's two absolutely adorable, adopted children: Josephine Roberts, age 5, and dancing Jack Roberts, age 4.
Now, an apparent digression. In his excellent essay "Bad News," which appeared this past Sunday in the New York Times Book Review, Judge Richard A. Posner conducted a penetrating, endlessly interesting analysis of the predicament of the mainstream news media.** He noted the competition that the media now face from bloggers, observing that "bloggers are parasitical on the conventional media. They copy the news and opinion generated by the conventional media, often at considerable expense, without picking up any of the tab."***
So back to our SCOTUS nominee, Judge John Roberts; his wife, Jane Sullivan Roberts; and their two kids, Josie Roberts and Jack Roberts. The topic of the Roberts adoptions is obviously a sensitive one that should be handled with care. Accordingly, in order to avoid crossing any lines or violating the privacy of the Roberts family, A3G will demonstrate Judge Posner's point: she will function parasitically with respect to prior news media coverage of the Roberts adoption, by bringing to your attention various facts that legitimate news organizations have already unearthed and reported. Thus, if you have a problem with any of the information appearing below, you should take it up not with A3G, but with the professional news publication that originally broadcasted it (to an audience vastly larger than A3G's).
Without further ado, here are a few facts about the Roberts' adoptions, as previously reported by the mainstream media (which A3G has merely collected and reshaped into an easy-to-follow, question-and-answer format):
1. Why did Judge and Mrs. Roberts decide to adopt?
The Washington Post offers this account:
In 1996 [Jane Sullivan Roberts] married John Roberts, whom she had met once years earlier through mutual friends. (One of the groomsmen was Michael Luttig, an appeals court judge who was also on the short list for the Supreme Court nomination.) By then she was 42, and Catholic doctrine prohibits most forms of fertility treatment. She and her husband went though an "uncertain difficult period where she wanted badly to have children," says [Pillsbury Winthrop partner] Tina Kearns.
For a long time the adoption process didn't work out, but Roberts never lost hope, Kearns says. Five years ago they adopted a daughter, Josephine, and in less than a year a son, John, and Roberts was suddenly a 45-year-old mother of two infants.
2. Where are the Roberts children from originally?
According to Time magazine, they were born in Ireland:
Jack McCay, law partner of Roberts' wife Jane and a friend, speaks of the couple's adoption of John (Jack) and Josephine, born in Ireland 4 1/2 months apart. "As frequently happens when you go through the adoption process, some of the efforts weren't successful, and it continued for a time ... But when the opportunity came along to have not just one but two kids, they took both babies without blinking."
As the foregoing indicates, because the children are so close in age -- less than 9 months apart -- Josie and Jack are not siblings (even though they look like they could be related). Their being Irish-born is not entirely surprising, in light of the fact that Mrs. Roberts's family "held onto its ties to Ireland, keeping a family home in the small town of Knocklong in the County of Limerick, where they still gather at least every two years" (as reported by the New York Times).
3. So were the children adopted from Ireland?
This is not clear -- the Associated Press reports that they were "adopted from Latin America." This seems a bit puzzling, in light of the Time magazine report indicating that the children were born in Ireland. Also, their blonde hair and fair skin do not seem conventionally Latin American. Perhaps the children were born in Ireland, but were in Latin America immediately prior to their adoption.
4. How were the children adopted?
According to The New York Times, based on information from Mrs. Roberts's sister, Mary Torre, the children were adopted through a private adoption. As explained by Families for Private Adoption, "[p]rivate (or independent) adoption is a legal method of building a family through adoption without using an adoption agency for placement. In private adoption, the birth parents relinquish their parental rights directly to the adoptive parents, instead of to an agency."
Apparently the process of adopting Jack involved some stress for John Roberts. According to Dan Klaidman of Newsweek, during the contested 2000 election, Roberts "spent a few days in Florida advising lawyers [for George W. Bush] on their legal strategy," but "he did not play a central role," because " at the time, Roberts was preoccupied with the adoption of his son."
5. Do the Roberts children go to day care or school? Who takes care of them?
Per the Washington Post, the children attend Episcopal Day School. Jane Roberts now has more time to spend with her kids, since "[t]wo years ago she scaled down [her work at Pillsbury Winthrop] -- she stopped practicing law and was tapped to start the firm's in-house training and evaluation program."
Okay, for the time being, that's "all the news that's fit to print," as the Times-folk like to say. Article 3 Groupie thanks the news publications cited above for their reporting. As previously noted, she has done no original reporting of her own for this post, and she therefore has not disclosed any information that was not previously disseminated by a major news organization. (She also cannot vouch for the accuracy of the foregoing information, which may contain errors.)
A3G hopes that you've found this collection of links and excerpts edifying. Good night!
* Also, today lots of people were running searches along the lines of "Katherine Harris" nude -- perhaps in the wake of what Wonkette has dubbed Katherine Harris's Extreme Makeover. Congresswoman Harris sure looks fantastic!
Oh, and Representative Harris blogs, too. Her blog didn't exist back in 2000, though, so liberals shouldn't go looking for archived entries like, "Today I helped Bush steal the presidential election. Oh, and I tried those rice snacks called Quakes for the first time. Gosh they're good! Rice cakes really aren't my thing -- they usually taste like crap -- but these ones are pretty yummy. Can you believe they're only 70 calories per serving?"
In their introduction to Judge Posner's piece, the editors of the Book Review wrote:
How does Richard A. Posner do it? A federal appeals court judge, a senior lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School, an editor of The American Law and Economics Review and a blogger, he is the author of 38 books, more than 300 articles and book reviews (including one, in these pages last year, of the 9/11 Commission Report), and almost 2,200 published judicial opinions. One reaches for science fiction explanations: Posner has cloned himself; he has found a way to slow down time. Surely it's the case that he never sleeps.
Perhaps it's time to run a correction? If the editors were readers of this blog, they would know that Judge Posner sleeps an average of six hours each night.
*** Bloggers are competing with the newspapers. But now the newspapers are turning the tables, by competing with the bloggers. Various newspapers are sponsoring their own blogs, such as the Los Angeles Times's LiveCurrent blog and the Washington Post's Campaign for the Court blog.