I’ve bee sitting at a different desk for the last few issues, and not a little—to say the least—has happened in that time. Here’s a brief roll call of some important names: Katrina, Rita, Michael Brown, John Roberts. Such simple names can indeed yield such profound devastation.
The work of the first three is unfortunately much too clear: we are left with a shattered region and shattered confidence in the basic competence of our government. In re: Michael Brown, the only real question is shouldn’t the person who hired him be fired?
John Roberts, of course, is a fuzzier matter, which is exactly why he was nominated. Roberts didn’t have much of a track record for the public to judge him on, and his performance in the Senate hearings showed his considerable skill in the art of evasion. But my hunch is that the 78 senators who hired him know exactly where he stands.
My bet is that he will become the most influential Chief Justice since Earl Warren. But where Warren moved the court towards protecting full legal equality for everyone, Roberts will continue to steer it in the direction of inequality, giving corporations and the state primacy over the rights of individuals. Unlike Brownie, Roberts is a competent crony of the Bush administration. And, alas, we’re going to live under his influence for at least the next 25 years.