“A dialogue among equals” is how John Roberts addressed questions posed by Arlen Specter on how he will deal with the other justices, some of whom may have wanted the job of Chief Justice. And that is the correct answer. Although the Chief Justice wields power, the court is comprised of 9 justices, and the Chief Justice’s vote is no greater than any one elses.
Specter (R-Pa.) invited John G. Roberts Jr. to his Senate office shortly after Roberts helped carry William H. Rehnquist’s coffin into the Supreme Court, where the late chief justice lay in repose. In an interview, Specter said he asked Roberts, an appeals court judge, a range of questions, including, “How are you going to handle guys like Scalia? He’s a lot older than you.”
Justice Antonin Scalia, once considered a contender for chief justice, is 69. Roberts, 50, replied somewhat indirectly, according to Specter, by saying he considers it “a dialogue among equals” when lawyers argue cases before the Supreme Court.
“I’m intrigued by his concept of a dialogue among equals,” Specter said, because it suggests Roberts will bring a needed tone of humility to court interactions. “I think for Judge Roberts to approach the court that way shows a lot of confidence,” Specter said.
I think Judge Roberts will do just fine in the confirmation hearings.