Professional Development Federal File

Law School

By Andrew Trotter — September 27, 2005 2 min read

Among the avid TV viewers of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s confirmation hearings on Chief Justice-designate John G. Roberts Jr. this month were teachers who have met him at an annual summer program on the U.S. Supreme Court.

Asked by senators about his pro bono legal work and his ways of staying attuned to ordinary people, Judge Roberts mentioned his participation in Street Law, an educational program that includes a Supreme Court Summer Institute for Teachers.

“I have always found that extremely rewarding, because they have a very different perspective,” Judge Roberts said in reference to the high school government teachers who come to Washington each June to get an intensive look at the high court’s operations and discuss methods of teaching about the law.

Judge Roberts, who sits on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, has been a speaker at the institute since it began 11 years ago, said Lee Arbetman, the director of U.S. programs for Street Law Inc., the nonprofit Silver Spring, Md., organization that runs it jointly with the Supreme Court Historical Society.

Judge Roberts said he would hope to continue participating if confirmed as chief justice. The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 13-5 on Sept. 22 to approve his nomination.

“He was more than anything a great teacher,” Julian K. Braxton, who teaches American history at the 420-student Winsor School in Boston, said of Judge Roberts’ 75-minute talk to the group last June. “The way he explained the process of how a case finally came before the Supreme Court was amazing.”

Teachers said Judge Roberts devoted half his session to answering their questions, which might have returned a dividend this month.

“Many of the questions we asked him were asked during his confirmation hearings,” said Joseph Gutmann, a law and government teacher at Central High School in Louisville, Ky., and a former prosecutor. Teachers asked his views of judicial activism, abortion, and other issues, he said. “His answers were identical to what he told the senators. … He didn’t talk down to us.”

Helen Haberman, a teacher in Eugene, Ore., said Judge Roberts, who has argued 39 cases before the Supreme Court, gave a memorable assessment of the justices.

Of one of the high court’s most conservative members, Judge Roberts “said that if the justices were all dogs, [Justice Antonin] Scalia would be a terrier, because he asks these rapid-fire questions, and you don’t know where it was going, and he makes it so tough,” she recalled.

Related Tags:

A version of this article appeared in the September 28, 2005 edition of Education Week

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Equity & Diversity Webinar
Culturally Relevant Pedagogy to Advance Educational Equity
Schools are welcoming students back into buildings for full-time in-person instruction in a few short weeks and now is the perfect time to take a hard look at both our practices and systems to build
Content provided by PowerMyLearning
Classroom Technology Webinar Making Big Technology Decisions: Advice for District Leaders, Principals, and Teachers
Educators at all levels make decisions that can have a huge impact on students. That’s especially true when it comes to the use of technology, which was activated like never before to help students learn
Professional Development Webinar Expand Digital Learning by Expanding Teacher Training
This discussion will examine how things have changed and offer guidance on smart, cost-effective ways to expand digital learning efforts and train teachers to maximize the use of new technologies for learning.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Professional Development Some Kids Had a 'Choppy' K-12 Experience This Year. ISTE Will Explore Solutions
Big themes at this year's online-only ed-tech conference will include acceleration and finding K-12's way in a new, more virtual world.
2 min read
Image of a student working on a computer from home.
iStock/Getty
Professional Development How to Fix 7 Fatal Flaws in Tech Professional Development
One silver lining of the pandemic is that it forced some districts to rethink their PD priorities and find new ways of training teachers.
8 min read
A team analyses data and tracks progress
Vanessa Solis/Education Week and iStock/Getty Images Plus
Professional Development Opinion How Can Coaches Use a Cycle of Inquiry to Establish Themselves and Help Others?
A cycle of inquiry can both help coaches establish themselves and help those they coach develop areas of improvement.
10 min read
shutterstock 546692113
Shuttestock
Professional Development Opinion 'A Professional Learning Community Is Not a Faculty, Grade Level, or Department Meeting'
Three educators wrap-up a four-part series on professional learning communities.
11 min read
Images shows colorful speech bubbles that say "Q," "&," and "A."
iStock/Getty