Interview With Chief Justice Roberts

CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS: Yes, every now and then and whenever my wife tells me I have to go out on an errand to pick up bread and milk or whatever, I always tell her, 'well, I can't, I can't get down there I'll get recognized.' But people, by and large, are very supportive and very friendly and I appreciate the good wishes that I get.

CRAWFORD GREENBURG: So do you still watch football?

CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS: When I can. You know, we try not to have too much television on. It's hard to tell your kids, 'you can't watch television, it's bad for you,' and then to lie down and watch the football game.

CRAWFORD GREENBURG: But that's the sports exemption, you know you make the exception for sports, and news of course, ABC News.

CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS: And news, yes, yes.

CRAWFORD GREENBURG: So you still make your kids' lunch, you take them to school, but you just don't go on errands because now you have a great excuse.

CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS: Whenever I can. It is a great thing about having young children, is that they don't really care whether you're the chief justice or whatever, and they do make sure that you have a good perspective on life and what's important.

CRAWFORD GREENBURG: Now, you grew up, you're a small town boy from Indiana and you went up to Harvard for college?


CRAWFORD GREENBURG: Was that a difficult transition?

CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS: It was a significant one, you know, because I did grow up in a small town and I remember the flight back for Christmas, I think, vacation the first year, was the first time I had flown on an airplane, for example. I remember when it landed being very frightened. It just didn't sound like something a plane ought to be doing. But I've learned that's normal. And it turns your head. It's an impressive place.

CRAWFORD GREENBURG: But it was the '70s, there were protests, upheaval. Did you participate in that?

CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS: No, and I remember, to be honest, being a little taken aback. It was kind of the post, just barely the post-Vietnam era and I remember there were some demonstrations, really quite sympathetic to the Viet Kong, and I remember thinking that wasn't right, that whatever the merits of the dispute and whether we should be there or not, I didn't understand celebrations in favor of our enemies. But it was a big campus and there were people of wide variety of views and I think there were some people who felt as I did and there were obviously ones who felt otherwise.

CRAWFORD GREENBURG: Did you feel like you were more conservative? When did you realize you didn't see things eye to eye with the protestors?

CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS: Probably when I was there. I mean, it was the first time. Harvard was a lot different than Indiana and I didn't certainly view myself as conservative or really politically conscious or involved in any way, until I went there and kind of reacted against the orthodoxy that was established there.

CRAWFORD GREENBURG: And did you speak out? Did you try to speak out against the protests?

CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS: No, no. You know, I was kind of taking a lot of it in. It was all quite a bit new to me and I certainly talked with my classmates about things, but that was the extent of it.

CRAWFORD GREENBURG: So you never felt like the lone voice crying in the wilderness?

CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS: No, I wouldn't say that.

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