- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 4, 2005


Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., who argued more than three dozen cases before the Supreme Court as an appellate court lawyer, got to see a new side yesterday.

On opening day of the court’s 2005-06 term, Chief Justice Roberts welcomed new lawyers to the Supreme Court bar and presided over arguments in two cases. He put on eyeglasses to read from the sheaf of papers in front of him, removed them to survey the packed courtroom and sipped from a silver cup.

Crisp and businesslike, Chief Justice Roberts, 50, listened intently, at times with chin in hand. It was a younger and more robust version of his mentor, the late Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, who died last month of cancer at age 80.

Before taking his place in the chief justice’s center chair, Chief Justice Roberts was welcomed during a special sitting of the nine-member Supreme Court.

Mr. Bush, Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales, Solicitor General Paul Clement, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter, Pennsylvania Republican, and other senators, Chief Justice Roberts’ wife, Jane, also a lawyer, and the Roberts’ two children attended, among others.

Mr. Gonzales, wearing a formal morning coat with tails, brought Chief Justice Roberts’ commission — a poster-sized, ivory-colored document that Mr. Bush signed stating his intent to nominate him as chief justice.

It was unrolled and read aloud before Justice John Paul Stevens, the most senior justice, administered the oath to Chief Justice Roberts in a repeat of his swearing-in at the White House last Thursday.

As the seven other justices watched, Chief Justice Roberts pledged to “administer justice without respect to persons” and to “do equal right to the poor and to the rich.”

Justice Stevens, 85, then wished his much younger boss “a long and happy career in our common calling.”

After the brief ceremony, the two posed together for pictures on the Supreme Court steps before Chief Justice Roberts motioned for his family, waiting in the wings, to join him. As they walked over, 4-year-old son, Jack, ran a few steps and gazed tantalizingly at the long flight of stairs before him as if he wanted dart up them.

Mrs. Roberts intervened, holding his hand for a bit before he went running, arms open wide, to Chief Justice Roberts and was scooped up into a hug by his father. Another hug followed for his 5-year-old daughter, Josephine, then a kiss for his wife.

“We love you Judge Roberts,” someone shouted from the crowd of observers that assembled in front of the Supreme Court and had been singing until he appeared. “We are praying for you and your family.”

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