he'd never fall for it

John Roberts, as Zeus, ruling from on high by DonkeyHotey via flickr

This election season has produced a bumper crop of candidates for the Republican nomination, but just a few seeking the Democratic nomination. After some dropouts in both parties, the list now stands at 11 Republican and three Democrats still running.

While we question whether Hillary Clinton will win the Democratic nomination, she is moving closer to locking it up.

And as we get closer to the first big test, the Iowa caucuses on February l, those 11 Republicans still running could gum up the works if one of them doesn’t pop to the forefront. It makes you wonder if the GOP could move toward their convention July 18-21 in Cleveland and be deadlocked without a consensus candidate? Could it end up a brokered convention, with the GOP party regulars eventually having to make the choice of the nominee?

What if the GOP convention was at such loggerheads that the Republicans could not easily produce the nominee?  Is there some other public figure that they might turn to as a major compromise and unite behind?

We came to this thought reading the other day about a Republican in a high profile position who is not seeking the presidential nomination. That would be John Roberts Jr., the chief justice of the Supreme Court.  He has become a much-loved figure among Republicans, a figure they hold in high esteem as he seeks to move the court in a continued conservative manner. Even though he sides sometimes with the liberal wing of the Court, he still is held in high regard among the Grand Old Party.

His stature, we would think, is held in high esteem also by ordinary citizens. While a political appointee, he has generally stayed above the harshness of party politics, leading the court in an exemplary manner. Should the GOP have to turn to him, it would make the election a much closer one than to have one of the current crop of Republican candidates as the nominee, giving the Republicans a better chance of winning, it would appear.

No sitting chief justice of the Supreme Court has ever been elected president. However, one former president has been named chief justice. That was William Howard Taft, who served as Teddy Roosevelt’s appointee to the court, a position he had always wanted.  He served for nine years.

A few facts about John Roberts Jr. He was born in Buffalo in 1955, is married with two sons. His undergraduate education was at Harvard, where he also got his law degree. He served two times as a law clerk, for a Court of Appeals judge, then for former Chief Justice William Rehnquist. Roberts worked in the Justice Department as a special assistant to the Attorney General, and was associate counsel to President Ronald Reagan for four years, then was the principal deputy Solicitor General for four years. He has had 13 years as an attorney in private practice in Washington, D. C. before being appointed to the Court of Appeals for the Washington, D.C. Circuit in 2003. Two years later, President George W. Bush nominated him for the Supreme Court.

Though mostly in government service, his background is impressive. With 10 years under his belt, the Roberts Court gets generally positive reviews.

If none of the current Republican candidates catches fire, the GOP would gain lots of plaudits with a John Roberts nomination.

Editor's note: This story first appeared at the Gwinnett Forum. Image: John Roberts, as Zeus, ruling from on high by DonkeyHotey via flickr and used under a Creative Commons license.
Elliott Brack

Elliott Brack

Elliott Brack is a native Georgian and veteran newspaperman. He published the weekly Wayne County Press for 12 years; was for 13 years the vice president and general manager of Gwinnett Daily News, and for 13 years was associate publisher of the Gwinnett section of The Atlanta Journal and Constitution. He now publishes, in retirement, Web sites on Gwinnett County, http://www.gwinnettforum.com, and Georgia news, http://www.georgiaclips.com.