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Will Justice Roberts' Seizure Make Him More Compassionate?

Supreme Court reporter Linda Greenhouse: "Could adversity temper a jurisprudence that critics of the chief justice have discerned as bloodless and unduly distant from the messy reality of the lives of ordinary people who fail to file their appeals on time?"

When liberals aren't taunting conservatives with death wishes, they will often, under a guise of concern, talk of how hopefully this brush with fate will give the conservative a more compassionate, less restrictive outlook on life (i.e., become a Democrat).


There's an undercurrent of that in Supreme Court reporter Linda Greenhouse's "Supreme Court Memo," "Uncertainty Now in a Golden Youth's Trajectory," on Chief Justice John Roberts' seizure. The liberal, pro-abortion Greenhouse evidently hopedRoberts' brush with fallibility will soften the whiz-kid conservative's heart.


"Barely a month ago, he was presiding over the close of a dramatic Supreme Court term in which he and his ideological allies were clearly ascendant. At the top of his game, he promptly flew to Europe for lectures and meetings with the cream of the Continent's legal establishment.


"Then out of the blue, on a clear summer day, he became a middle-age man in need of emergency medical treatment, hospitalized and confronting the implications of a condition that could affect his life in big and small ways like requiring daily medication or making it inadvisable to drive a car.


"In October, when he returns to his seat at the center of the Supreme Court bench, will colleagues and courtroom spectators see the same golden youth whose trajectory was unmarked by setback or sorrow? Or will they see someone suddenly vulnerable, with a medical condition that, while treatable and shared by millions, can still inspire fear?


"Or to dig deeper, might this encounter with illness even change the way John Roberts sees himself, his job or the world?


"Prof. William H. Chafe, a historian at Duke University, published a book last year, 'Private Lives, Public Consequences: Personality and Politics in Modern America'" in which he presented portraits of prominent 20th-century Americans, including Franklin D. Roosevelt, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., John F. Kennedy and Bill Clinton.


"Professor Chafe argued that trauma or tragedy strengthened them and gave them the qualities of leadership they displayed later in life. Could adversity temper a jurisprudence that critics of the chief justice have discerned as bloodless and unduly distant from the messy reality of the lives of ordinary people who fail to file their appeals on time?"


Apparently liberals have given up on making constitutional arguments that would appeal to five members of the current Supreme Court, and instead are literally hoping for change from within.