William Rasberry’s column this morning has the whiff of concession speech about it, though a bitter one. Using an unamed friend, one who is “black, conservative and Republican,” to voice an objection, Rasberry writes:
It isn’t his conservatism, my friend said, but the too-smooth path by which Roberts has arrived at this juncture. Son of a wealthy steel executive, Roberts attended private schools, Harvard and Harvard Law School, then held a federal appeals court clerkship, followed a year later by a clerkship with Supreme Court Justice (now Chief Justice) William Rehnquist.
He then was named special assistant to the U.S. attorney general, and associate counsel to the president (at age 27) before joining one of Washington’s top law firms. Then Roberts went to the office of the solicitor general of the United States and, for the past two years, a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.
The point: Nothing in that glide path suggests exposure to anything that might temper his conservative philosophy with real-life exposure to the problems and concerns of ordinary men and women. Roberts is undeniably bright, said my friend, but his life has been one of quite extraordinary privilege.
And then it occurred to me: Roberts’s life has been amazingly like that of the man who wants to put him on the court — but with better grades.
I wonder what Rasberry’s Harry-the-rabbitt friend thought of Clarence Thomas or Miguel Estrada and their stories? As Rasberry finds his “friend’s” objection so persuasive, can we assume that Rasberry approved of those nominees, or disapproved of the privileged backgrounds and resumes of, say Stephen Breyer.