The Chief

The Life and Turbulent Times of Chief Justice John Roberts
Narrated by: Jennywren Walker
Length: 14 hrs and 6 mins
4 out of 5 stars (105 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

An incisive biography of the Supreme Court's enigmatic chief justice, taking us inside the momentous legal decisions of his tenure so far.

John Roberts was named to the Supreme Court in 2005 claiming he would act as a neutral umpire in deciding cases. His critics argue he has been anything but, pointing to his conservative victories on voting rights and campaign finance. Yet he broke from orthodoxy in his decision to preserve Obamacare. How are we to understand the motives of the most powerful judge in the land? 

In The Chief, award-winning journalist Joan Biskupic contends that Roberts is torn between two often divergent priorities: to carry out a conservative agenda and to protect the Court's image and his place in history. Biskupic shows how Roberts' dual commitments have fostered distrust among his colleagues, with major consequences for the law. Trenchant and authoritative, The Chief reveals the making of a justice and the drama on this nation's highest court. 

©2019 Joan Biskupic (P)2019 Hachette Audio

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Hard to concentrate on, because of author's bias

Most of the book could be summarized as follows: The author thinks Roberts is a racist.

At one point in the book, the author reads a laundry list of policy decisions while Roberts was working in the Reagan White House that centered around race decisions and simply laid out what side he was on, without any explanations of why he might have thought why he did. The particular quote concerned Oprah and I wish I could find it, but just can't. It was something like, "He was against Oprah" and provided no context whatsoever.

3 people found this helpful

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Agenda driven

Author often injects personal preferences into the story of John Roberts. I’ll look forward to reading an authorized biography after Roberts retires

1 person found this helpful

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Put me to sleep

I had a difficult time listening to this woman’s voice. A friend heard the narrator speaking and said, “Boring voice!’

3 people found this helpful

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Biased and embarrassing

The background drama details on big cases are interesting, but the author too often editorializes in ways that are embarrassing to actual lawyers who know the details of the opinions. It sounds like the author had someone else write the summaries of a case and then threw it its own thoughts at the end. Also the narrator is too monotone and mispronounces “Posner”.

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Distracting mispronunciations

Many basic legal terms and the names of famous judges were mispronounced to a distracting level.

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Flat

I just found this book to be alittle dull. There wasn't enough of a compelling story to keep me engaged.

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Decent Book, but a Little Early

The book certainly is timely, but I tend to agree with Roberts in the epilogue that now might not be the best time to write it. It seems to be a relatively fair recounting of events without offering much in the way of actual analysis. The right will hate it and decry it as a political hack job, and the left won't think it goes far enough.

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  • EW
  • 05-17-19

Interesting Read

An interesting and thorough biography. However, I felt the book was a bit repetitive in places and also jumped around chronologically at times. It was otherwise an easy read.

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Worthwhile pursuit

For a non lawyer, this work opens the workings of the law and those charged with interpretation of the law. What comes across to me is the sometimes blatant disregard for the individual hurt placed on innocent, disadvantaged citizens, for the sake of rigid interpretations of the constitution.

1 person found this helpful

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Excellent in every way!

This is great read/listen. It explains a lot of the MESS the USA is in.