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Chief Justice Roberts discusses Washington gridlock during visit to Nebraska College of Law

Monday, September 22nd, 2014

Chief Justice John Roberts visited the Nebraska College of Law Sept. 19 for a conversational-style talk that generated coverage in local and national media outlets.

Most reports led with Roberts’ remarks on partisan gridlock. Among other things, Roberts lamented that Elena Kagan was confirmed by the Senate in a near party-line vote — and he added that he doubted that fellow justices Antonin Scalia and Ruth Bader Ginsburg could survive a confirmation vote in today’s highly partisan environment.

Roberts spoke about the life of a Supreme Court chief justice with some humor — saying, for example, that justices ask “too many” questions of the lawyers appearing in court. Sometimes attorneys are prevented from making their own case when justices use questions to the lawyers as a way to argue legal points among themselves.  He said he sympathizes with the nervousness lawyers feel when they appear before the high court — he said he thinks the sides of the lectern probably have grooves from his fingernails from the days when he was a lawyer arguing before the nation’s highest court.

Roberts confided that the administrative duties of overseeing the court system probably are his least favorite aspects of his job. Shortly after he became chief justice, he said, a colleague came to him and complained that it was too hot in his chambers.  Roberts said he was commiserating with the other justice, when he suddenly realized “he expects me to do something about it!”

Here is a sampling of news articles published about Roberts’ appearance.

ABC news coverage:

http://go.unl.edu/39v7

WABC – New York:

http://go.unl.edu/wnvh

WLS-AM – Chicago:

http://go.unl.edu/jiuv

The Associated Press (Kansas City Star):

http://go.unl.edu/7rh7

Omaha World-Herald:

http://go.unl.edu/7rh7

Lincoln Journal-Star:

http://go.unl.edu/akzt

KETV:

http://go.unl.edu/0ujy

KOLN/KGIN:

http://go.unl.edu/j67w