The Magazine

John Roberts's Other Papers

From the August 8, 2005 issue: Portrait of the judge as an undergraduate.

Aug 8, 2005, Vol. 10, No. 44 • By MATTHEW CONTINETTI
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Roberts also seems to be drawn to noble causes--Webster's attempt to save the Union, Lloyd George and Churchill's program of incremental reform--that end in failure. The Union busted; there was civil war. The Liberal party collapsed; the British welfare state metastasized. A deep respect for courageous intentions and righteous politics courses through Roberts's college papers. He grows most eloquent when he describes a man of character, a disinterested, self-sacrificing man of wisdom who continually worked with others of his sort to resolve any controversy which threatened national harmony. The man of character did not fight in the thick of political battles, but rather raised himself above the conflict and stilled it through dispassionate compromise.

Doubtless Roberts saw such qualities in the men he wrote about while at Harvard--and perhaps he aspired to cultivate them in himself.

Matthew Continetti is a staff writer at The Weekly Standard.