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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 (63 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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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 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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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.

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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 of 2 people found this review 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.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Chief Justice John Roberts Undercover

Critical rulings in race, wages, and religion have unveiled the Roberts Court as biased by design, despite some efforts to dissemble, and confuse. Despite protestations to the contrary, Roberts is using his power to steer the US Supreme Court hard right.

Wages for workers are merely collateral damage, when important freedoms for management are at stake. The most troubling aspects of the Roberts Court are predictable, based upon his biases by his racial & Catholic beliefs.

This umpire has a deep desire to win, not just “call balls and strikes.” His robes cloak a massive ego, given to repression of racial issues, and justifying his Catholic hierarchical instincts. In our world shifted by neuroscience powered by “Thinking Fast and Slow,” Roberts’ deference to elite control, will spell misery for millions of the working poor.

0 of 3 people found this review helpful