A Most Unusual Job Application

September 2005

The United States Senate
The United States Capitol
Washington, DC

Dear Senators:

My name is John G. Roberts and I am a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. I understand that there are currently two openings on the United States Supreme Court that you are trying to fill. I would like to apply for the position of Chief Justice of the United States. Please allow me to tell you why and outline my qualifications, as detailed in my enclosed resume.

I believe that the most important qualification for becoming a Justice of the Supreme Court, and in particular Chief Justice of the United States, is sound judgment — the product of a brilliant mind applying principles of fair-mindedness to a thorough examination of all the evidence.

I hope and trust that you in the Senate, in your Constitutionally mandated role of providing “advice and consent”, will likewise apply sound judgment in considering my application for this position of great moment and consequence.

Just please don’t ask me about any of my opinions, passions, or prejudices; I just don’t have any. Really. I’m not an ideologue; I’m a…uh…um…

All that stuff I wrote for other people — you know, the legal opinions against abortion rights, civil rights, workers’ rights, consumers’ rights, defendants’ and prisoners’ rights, First Amendment rights, environmental protections, all that sort of stuff — I just did it for the money. I mean, it was just a job. Uh, what I mean to say is, I really think it was a honor working for two presidents and those big corporations and Right Wing interest groups; and everything they stood for was great and all. But just don’t think I really meant any of those things I wrote for them. I did everything I could to get to work for them, but I really didn’t want to work for them. I’m not saying they put a gun to my head to write those things; but who would write such things, you know?

And anyway, I was just a dumb kid back then. I’m much more mature now. Just listen to how I tell you only what you want to hear, or double-talk, or nothing at all. Now that I’m older and wiser, I know how to play the game…so I can wind-up umpiring the games. It is a game, isn’t it?

I mean, if you knew what I really believed and how I really thought, well…

Just please don’t ask me what I really believe or how I really think about anything in particular…at least anything in the last half century: I mean, that might actually give you a hint about how I’d rule on something. That wouldn’t be fair now, would it? That Brown v. Board of Education thing was a good decision — “separate” isn’t “equal” with segregated classrooms — just pay no attention to my writing on behalf of the Reagan Administration in opposition to the strengthening of the Voting Rights Act that you can’t strike down laws just because the effect is discriminatory; you have to prove intent (yeah, like that’s gonna happen, uh…). Hey, I respect the right to privacy — well, in some cases, but let’s not get down to cases — so how’s about respecting mine? I promise not to bring any of my personal baggage to the bench. Really I do.

I mean, what has “justice” got to do with any of the personal and political peccadilloes that make each of us unique human beings? Why, when you think about it like that, you could get a supercomputer to do this job.

Uh, just kidding.

But seriously, Sen’s, just take a look at my work history as a judge: A full (well, almost full) three years on the Appellate Bench and ah, um, uh…it was a LONG three years (well, almost three). There was that french fry thing. And the toad.

I’m sure I could do a real good job for the rest of my life. And yours. And your kids. And your grandkids. And…

And I promise to take those goofy looking stripes off the sleeves of the robes. Maybe go with a paisley motif or something.

In any case, I’m confident that after you think it all over, you’ll come to the inescapable conclusion that of some 300 million Americans, I’m the very best man, er, person for the job.

Don’t forget, that’s the opinion of my top professional reference, President George W. Bush. And if anyone is a good judge of good judgment it’s President Bush: Why, just look at all that his sound judgment has done for Iraq, New Orleans, the environment, the budget, the price of gas, the…

Uh, maybe you’d just better look at my resume. It’s got a nice font. Not too conservative. I mean, if you like conservative fonts it is pretty darn conservative; but…um, if you don’t like conservative fonts it’s…uh…

You say potato; I say uh, no Roe. Let’s call the whole thing off.

Respectfully yours,

Judge John G. Roberts

P.S. Whatever you do, don’t click here — it’ll take you to a webpage where, with just one click, anybody can send a personalized message to each of their senators and, if they’d like, a letter to the editor of their nearest newspaper opposing my confirmation as Chief Justice. And I’m too charming (and cagey) to go the way of Robert Bork. Aren’t I?

Doug Drenkow

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