Talk About Your Overrated Job

Why would anyone want to be chief justice?

President Bush has selected former Rehnquist clerk John Roberts to be the new chief justice of the Supreme Court, replacing William Rehnquist, who died this weekend. Soon after Rehnquist announced that he had thyroid cancer, Dahlia Lithwick explained how the chief justice’s role differs from the other eight members of the court. Though “[h]e or she is essentially like a glorified Alice on the Brady Bunch, getting to do all the administrative grunt work with which no one else would possibly want to be bothered,” that work opens up opportunities. “A canny politician or rabid ideologue can use all these seemingly trivial powers to wrench the court onto a vastly different trajectory.”