Roberts did not want to completely overturn Roe v. Wade, meaning he would have dissented from part of the opinion, sources tell CNN, likely with the court’s three liberals.
The court has confirmed the authenticity of the draft opinion, but stressed that it was not final and did not reflect the final position of any member of the court.
On Thursday, Roberts noted that he worked on being an “honest” broker so everyone had a chance to speak and he called on Thomas, in the audience, for his views on the format. Grinning, Thomas simply gave a thumbs up.
Carnes asked Roberts about his views on several areas concerning the workings of the court. Roberts said that a good brief “should not have a lot of fluff in it.” He suggested that “most” friend-of-the court briefs aren’t useful. “They are helpful when they have a purpose,” he said. He was also critical of law review articles — calling them too “theoretical” at times. At oral arguments, Roberts said, a lawyer shouldn’t “fight a question” but instead, put himself in the judge’s shoes.
He also spoke about his early goal of seeking unanimity on the bench. “I soon learned on the court that unanimous means 7-2,” he joked. But he said that narrower opinions joined by more justices are a “good objective” at times. And he allowed that not all dissents need to see the light of day. He said he saw a good reason for “graveyard dissents” that get buried.
He spoke a bit about his time presiding over impeachment and he said he did homework by reading transcripts of other impeachment hearings. “You want to think you are running this trial,” he said, “but you are not.” But he honored the Senate saying he got a sense of the “real importance of the occasion.”
Roberts was received by the judges and the lawyers with a standing ovation, and arrived with a security detail. The 11th Circuit Judicial Conference press policy rules are so strict that reporters weren’t allowed to bring phones or lap tops into the speaking hall. They were also barred from recording the speech even for note taking purposes.
Roberts who also serves as an ex officio member of the board of the Smithsonian, said he had borrowed one painting to hang in his chambers that depicts an island in Maine close to where Roberts and his wife spend the summer months.
Each term, Roberts said, “I look longingly at it — starting about now.”
This story has been updated with additional details.
The president went on to praise Psaki for having “set the standard for returning decency, respect and decorum to the White House Briefing Room.”
“I want to say thank you to Jen for raising the bar, communicating directly and truthfully to the American people, and keeping her sense of humor while doing so,” the president said. “I thank Jen her service to the country, and wish her the very best as she moves forward.”
Jean-Pierre has been a long-time advisor to Biden, having served in senior communication and political roles in the administration, the Biden campaign, and with Biden while he served as vice president in the Obama Administration, the White House said Thursday.