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Roberts has the write stuff

January 3, 2011 |  1:50 pm


It reads like a feature story, or maybe the voice-over for a documentary on the History Channel:

"In 1935 — in the midst of the Great Depression — many Americans sought respite from the nation’s economic troubles at their local movie theaters, which debuted now-classic films, such as "Mutiny on the Bounty," "Top Hat" and "Night at the Opera." Moviegoers of that era enjoyed a prelude of short features as they settled into their seats. As the lights dimmed, the screen beamed previews of coming attractions, Merrie Melody cartoons and the Movietone newsreels of current events."

The next setence, however, gives away the game: "The 1935 news shorts also provided many Americans with their first look at the Supreme Court’s new building, which opened that year." It continues: "Seventy-five years later, the Supreme Court’s majestic building stands out as a familiar and iconic monument to the rule of law."

Yes, this evocative period sketch is the beginning of Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.'s year-end report on the federal judiciary. The rest of the report is just as dry as you would expect, but the opening -- or overture, as some journalists say -- suggests that Roberts could have been a writer. That's more that you can say for some of his colleagues.


Jury's still out on justice in 2010

-- Michael McGough

Photo: Supreme Court judges pose for a new group photograph, Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2009, at the Supreme Court in Washington. From left are: Associate Justice Samuel Alito Jr., Associate Justice John Paul Stevens, Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Chief Justice John G. Roberts, and Associate Justice Stephen Breyer. Credit: AP Photo/Charles Dharapak

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