Topic: Chief Justice Rehnquist
Date: SEPTEMBER 14, 2005
BROWNBACK: I would just ask you really about your mentor or one of your mentors in Chief Justice Rehnquist who I admired greatly -- admired for his demeanor.
As you go on, and I anticipate you will be approved to be the chief justice of the United States, I would ask you just if you could briefly respond: How do you view his mentorship of you and your taking over if you are confirmed as chief justice? What does that mean personally to you and how will it impact you as chief justice?
ROBERTS: Well, it makes the opportunity a very special one, as I've said before. The chief was a mentor to many people. And like many great mentors, of course, he led by example not by precept.
His example of how he dealt with other people, not just other justices but everybody in the courthouse including the law clerks, in an open, friendly, balanced way was an example for everybody there.
Substantively, his approach to the role of a judge and the appropriate role of the court is, I think, a very important example. He was somebody who appreciated the appropriate limits on the judicial role and the judicial power and he was always careful and conscious of that. He was always asking whether or not this was something that it was appropriate for the courts to do.
And I do think it is important for judges at every level to always ask that question, because, as we had talked earlier, judicial self-restraint is the key check on the authority of the court. And if you're not asking yourself that question at every stage, "Is this an appropriate thing for me to do as a judge," then they're's a great danger that you'll lose sight of that important judicial self- restraint.
And God bless you in your service to the country and your family.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
SPECTER: Thank you very much, Senator Brownback.