Tags: Supreme Court | john roberts | graduation | speech

Chief Justice Roberts Gives Speech to Son's 9th Grade Graduating Class

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By    |   Monday, 03 Jul 2017 05:39 PM

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts encouraged his son's 9th grade graduating class to humbly learn from their life experiences – and "to see the message in your misfortunes."

In an often humorous commencement address last month to graduates of the all-male prep school Cardigan Mountain School in New Hampshire, Roberts ticked off what could go wrong – and likely will.

His remarks begin at the 5:55-minute mark.

"I wish you bad luck, from time to time, so that you will be conscious of the role of chance in life and understand that your success is not completely deserved, and the failure of others is not completely deserved either," Roberts said.

"And when you lose, as you will from time to time, I hope every now and then that your opponent will gloat over your failure, as a way to understand the importance of sportsmanship. I hope you'll be ignored, so you understand the importance of listening to others, and I hope you will have just enough pain to learn compassion."

"Whether I wish these things or not, they're going to happen," he continued. "And whether you benefit or not will depend on your ability to see the message in your misfortunes."

He also gently mocked the common advice to graduates to "be yourself."

"In a way you should not be yourself, but try to be something better," he advised, adding: "The best way to lose the values that are central to who your are is, frankly, to not think about them at all."

But his biggest applause line was his non-advice about going to schools that are co-ed.

"You've been at a school with just boys," Roberts said. "Most of you will be going to a school with girls. I have no advice for you."

He also told the youngsters to introduce themselves to the staff at their new schools, especially "to the person who is raking the leaves, shoveling the snow, or emptying the trash. Learn their name, and call them by their name during your time at school."

According to Vox, Roberts's speech won praise for its focus on humility, with Robert Barnes of the Washington Post saying it was more important than any decision he had handed down from the bench this year.

But Vox noted the Los Angeles Times editorial writer and former Supreme Court reporter Michael McGough drew a comparison between Roberts's remarks and controversial ones made by President Donald Trump.

"Much of what Roberts said could also plausibly come from the mouth of a president — but not, unfortunately, this one," McGough wrote.

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Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts encouraged his son's 9th grade graduating class to humbly learn from their life experiences – and "to see the message in your misfortunes."
john roberts, graduation, speech
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2017-39-03
Monday, 03 Jul 2017 05:39 PM
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