Briefcase – John Bowie – Sponsored by Staedtler Pens – used by the best lawyers –
US Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts is charming the legal powers-that-be in Wellington – or the ‘Beltway’ as some over-affected politicos refer to the Beehive precinct – with his star-turn at Victoria University Law School.
America’s top jurist, a conservative appointee of George W Bush’s, is in town with Harvard law professor Richard Lazarus to present a four day course ‘The United States Supreme Court in Historical Perspective’.
This week he was hosted to a dinner by the Law School with a grab bag of senior academics, lawyers, politicians, the Governor General and our own senior jurists.
His presence is a major feather in the cap for VUW. As America’s most senior justice, his presence is a major coup and his presiding over some of the most significant issues of the day, including
free speech, abortion, gun rights and other constitutional issues, as well as the 2015 legalisation of same-sex marriage (in which Justice Roberts dissented) make for interesting discussions.
Justice Roberts also served in senior positions prior to his appointment, including as Associate Counsel to President Reagan. His conservative credentials reflect the ideological divide within the US Supreme Court, reflected recently with Donald Trump’s appointment of Neil Gorsuch to the Court to replace conservative Justice Antonin Scalia.
Wishing Bad Luck to Students
Justice John Roberts may be a conservative nominee, but he is also an interesting man of humility and humour. A recent address at his son’s middle school, an exclusive New Hampshire boarding school, demonstrated both with comments made to the young men, to whom he wished a dose of bad luck in their future.
In an address that refreshingly avoided the usual platitudes of successful alumni and selected guests at such gatherings, he hoped that the boys would suffer betrayal in order to learn the importance of loyalty. ” I wish you bad luck, again, from time to time so that you will be conscious of the role of chance in life and understand that your success is not completely deserved and that the failure of others is not completely deserved either.” Suffering unfairness, he said, would teach them the value of justice.
He instructed the students to thank those who had made sacrifices for the privilege they had received in being at the school. “My advice is: Don’t act like it”.
And he also asked them to applaud their guardians and parents for what they had given them, which the students duly did. He proceeded to note that when someone asks him how his address went he would be able to say it was interrupted by applause.
Bain case addicts are receiving another fix with the Fairfax podcast series on the case from lawyer-turned-journalist Martin van Beynen. This is our Dreyfus case without the overt political overtones, if we can put aside the multiple millions spent on Bain enquiries and ex-gracia payments from government. It’s
already the subject of multi-media forensic dissection, including three books by Joe Karam alone, as well as the ensuing enquiries and media analysis of the slaughter on Every Street.
But it’s destined to be with us forever, like Mrytle rust or Winston Peters. It has been one of those life, or in this case death, events that has divided the nation like the Spingbok tour or Vietnam War , only without Tim Shadbolt or John Minto on this occasion, to the best of my knowledge.
I suspect if we polled the country, which could be a Greens policy-in-waiting, we would find something like 70/30 against the surviving Bain. Like Stanley Graham at the outset of the war or David Gray’s Aramoana shootings down the road from the Bain house, the Bain slaughter is already part of our criminal, mass murder folklaw.
And as long as there’s doubt and theories about the case and its protagonists, there will be Bain case revelations.
The mention I made a couple of weeks ago about the apparent failure of the Love family to pay long time lawyers Bisson Moss was wrong on one point – QC Colin Carruthers is also left part paid. I believe both parties have issued bankruptcy proceedings against Sir Ngatata Love to recover their fees. In the case of Bisson Moss, the good faith dealing with a client who had been with the firm for around a quarter of a century, has been a bitter pill to swallow. The ongoing misery of the Love-Skiffington shenanigans has caught everyone from the Tenths Trust and Westpac Bank, for whom fewer tears might be shed, to the lawyers who went into bat for the Knight of the realm.