Now that Sandra Day O’Connor has announced her retirement, how many remaining justices have ever held elected office? How many have previously served at the highest levels of the executive branch of government? How many have argued big-time commercial lawsuits within the past thirty-five years? How many have ever been either criminal defense lawyers or trial prosecutors? How many have presided over even a single criminal or civil trial? The answers are zero, zero, zero, one, and one, respectively. (David Souter was a New Hampshire prosecutor once upon a time, and later served as a trial judge.)
So, score a few points for John Roberts who has served at fairly high levels in the executive branch, has argued big-time commercial lawsuits, has practiced law in both government and private practice. That we’re getting an incredibly smart guy who is not completely an “ivory tower” type is one point in his favor.