It was a year ago that reports surfaced from Maine that Chief Justice John Roberts had suffered some sort of seizure at his summer home.
This week, Tony Mauro, the skilled Supreme Court correspondent for Legal Times, attempted to discover the state of the chief justice’s health, sending him a series of writen questions about whether Roberts, 53, had altered his lifestyle in the wake of the seizure and whether he was taking medications?
His reply? “No comment.”
This isn’t new. When it comes to health issues, Supreme Court justices resemble nothing less than the Soviet Politburo. It may be because of tradition. Or it may be because they can. Or it may be because, as in the case of the Politburo, any suggestion of failing health touches off a surge of speculation about a justice leaving the bench.
Still, the Supreme Court is the third branch of government and Roberts oversees the workings of not only the court but the entire federal judiciary.
To David Garrow, a distinguished Supreme Court scholar and a professor at Cambridge, Roberts’ lack of disclosure just isn’t good enough. Garrow told Mauro:
“Given how much public attention his seizure attracted at the time, it ill behooves both the chief justice individually, and the Court as an independent branch of government, to refuse to comment whatsoever about a genuine matter of public concern involving one of the government’s top officials.”