Monday, September 05, 2005

An Email To Andrew Sullivan


You write:

[Bush's] nomination of Roberts for Chief Justice seems like a strange gamble for me. Someone who has not yet been on the Court should now be leading it? I know there are precedents, but this strikes me as a way to buy time.

Bush's nomiation of a newcomer like Roberts to be Chief Justice is anything but strange -- of the 16 Chief Justices that have served since 1789, 13 have been selected from outside the Supreme Court -- meaning that 81% of Chief Justices were "someone who [had] not yet been on the Court." (03/2005 Denis Steven Rutkus and Lorraine Tong, The Chief Justice of the United States: Responsibilities of the Office and Process for Appointment, CRS Report for Congress, link here)

You dismiss this fact so blithely that I wonder if you even bothered to check and see how many sitting justices were elevated to Chief before you posted the quoted remark, which qualifies more as a "strange gamble" than the Roberts nomination.

-- Michael Lichtenstein


At 9/18/2005 10:17 PM, Blogger Zach said...

When I heard he was being put up for Chief, I thought "huh?" About 20 seconds of research made it clear that there was no historical precedent for my doubt. You'd think Andy Sullivan would have hit up wikipedia as well.


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