John G. Roberts Jr., Judge and Grammarian

Anne Kornblut has an August 29, 2005 article at the New York Times on Supreme Court nominee John G. Roberts Jr. The article carries the unexpected title, In Re Grammar, Roberts’s Stance Is Crystal Clear.

Kornblut writes inter alia:

“Judge Roberts’s emphasis on written language came as welcome news even to a Democratic partisan, Theodore C. Sorensen, who served as special counsel and speechwriter to President John F. Kennedy, even if it did not allay his concerns about the opinions Judge Roberts could issue from the bench if confirmed.

“The language ought to be used precisely, particularly by lawyers and judges,” Mr. Sorensen said. “This is the best thing I’ve heard about Judge Roberts so far.” “

[Note: According to the PaulWeiss 2005 alumni directory (p. 19), Sorensen is today of counsel to that firm, at which the Law Pundit was an associate in his younger years.

Many moons later, “Legal Writing” was a course which the Law Pundit taught at the law school level. Precise writing remains at the top of the list of skills which are required for success in law, whether in law school or in the later practice of the legal profession. We agree that Roberts’s penchant for grammar speaks for his nomination, which raises the question of whether it is correctly Roberts’ or Roberts’s? Why do you think so? Is it logic or convention? For an answer, see The Crossword Centre.]

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