Analyzing Justice Roberts’ Comments, Journalist Has Sharp Words for Alito


Writing in the New York Times, Linda Greenhouse analyzes nuanced comments made by John Roberts, chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, concerning the law, politics and social policy during at a judicial conference last month. Greenhouse concludes that Roberts “is saying that there's a disconnect between what people seem to want from the Supreme Court – answers to the country's most profound questions – and what the current crop of justices has been trained and selected for – namely, delivering small-bore answers. If you want something more from us, I hear him as implying, then maybe we're not the justices for you.”

She goes on to castigate Justice Samuel Alito, author of the controversial Ledbetter opinion, which held that a woman had waited too long to sue for pay discrimination. She writes, “As far as I can tell from his résumé, Samuel Alito, since his graduation from law school, has never cashed a paycheck that wasn't issued by the federal government…In federal employment, salaries are set by law and lines of authority are clear to all. But in the private sector, where I've spent my career, salaries are often close to state secrets and it can be the least powerful of many bosses who can make an employee's daily life the most miserable. Does Justice Alito understand this? Can he? It's not really that complicated. So maybe this is the real mismatch: the wrong man for the job.”

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