Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Chief Justice Roberts visits the U of I.

A little late on this, but last week was kind of busy for us (more on that later). This year marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of the school of law at the University of Idaho. To commemorate the event Chief Justice Roberts was invited to give a speech as part of the Bellwood lecture series. Justice Roberts generally gives only one such lecture a year, quite the honor for the U of I. Personally I think Justice Roberts thought Moscow would be a place he could lecture without being harassed by too many protesters.

The event was a great reminder of why there are so many lawyer jokes out there. It took a full THIRTY minutes for all the self-important people to introduce Justice Roberts. The head of the law school spoke, then the Chief Justice of the Idaho State Supreme court, then the head of the Idaho Bar association, and finally a close personal friend of Justice Roberts introduced him. I'm just glad the event wasn't held in the Kibbie dome; the extra space in the Kibbie dome would have allowed enough extra ego for the introduction to go on for at least another hour. Take home message? Keep making those anatomically-based insults to lawyers, with the egregious self back patting we witnessed lawyers obviously have the flexibility to fulfill the insults you throw at them.

Finally the local big wig wannabes allowed Justice Roberts to speak, considerate of them since we were obviously all there to hear THEM speak. Justice Roberts got up and spoke for approximately 25 minutes, for those of you playing at home it took longer for the local big wig wannabes to introduce Justice Roberts than he actually spoke for.

Justice Roberts centered his talk on Abraham Lincoln, specifically, his character traits that made him such a superb attorney. It was interesting and well crafted but not quite what we were expecting. Turns out, Justice Roberts avoids speaking publicly on current court issues so no one can use those speeches to force him to recuse himself from a case.

After Justice Roberts concluded, the floor was opened for questions from the audience and the event got REALLY interesting. Send in the crazies!

Behold the face of insanity. Apparently this woman is from Arizona, on the day of the speech she woke up at 3am and drove 3hrs to San Diego. She then flew from San Diego to Tacoma Washington and then drove 300 miles from Tacoma to Moscow. Why? Because she had PROOF that Barack Obama is NOT a US citizen and she had proof that a massive conspiracy allowed Obama to become President.

Now everyone reading this knows me, I am no fan of Obama. I think Obama is overrated and has done nothing to deserve the hype he gets. Having said that, I was one of the crowd that let out a loud groan when this lady started to speak. Us Idahoans have a hard enough time convincing everyone we are not completely crazy and then this woman shows up.

Well they let the crazy woman rant for a moment before Justice Roberts finally interuppted her, told her he'd read her documents and suggested she leave them with security. Welcome to a fedral watch list lady!

All in all we were both very impressed with Justice Roberts. He is obviously very intelligent, even if you disagree with him you cannot doubt that he has well thought out reasons for his positions.

After the lecture Nicolle and I discussed how much we will miss the opportunities of Moscow. In the 2 years we have been together we have seen the following speak in person: Jane Goodall, Martin Luther King III, F.W De Klerk, and now the Chief Justice of United States Supereme Court. Opportunities we are grateful for.

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