The Roberts Dream
Bill Long 9/11/05
Thinking about the Future Chief Justice
In preparation for the confirmation hearings for Judge John G. Roberts, Jr., which begin tomorrow in Washington, D.C., I have been reading lots of his stuff. My method has been to work through some of the legal briefs he authored while an attorney in private practice, and try to understand the working of his mind and his probable legal philosophy. Three of those essays are already posted on my Legal Essays page, and more may come. While I was semi-immersed in Robertsiana, I had the following dream. It reminded me immediately of a summer 1992 dream I had of being in close conversation with Bill Clinton after I took a trip to Little Rock just before the Presidential Campaign season began around Labor Day. That dream is recorded in BillsNotebooks, a fifteen-volume collection of private writings which I composed between 1981 and 2004 (when I began this web site). The Roberts dream is best explained as a "5-part" dream.
I. The Dinner. I was in Washington D.C. for the hearings but had arrived in D.C. several days early. I had no idea if I had "tickets" or any kind of pass which would admit me to hearings. In my dream I attended a large dinner party (about 200 people present) where Roberts was the honored guest. I knew no one, including the nominee. I sat at a table, exchanged small talk with people at my table, heard a speech which I didn't remember and then left for the night.
2. In the next image I was at a friend's house in DC the next morning. She, an editorial page editor for a publication, lived with her family in a house in an uncertain DC location. The large living/dining room/kitchen had a round table near the windows. Surprisingly, my bed was also in the large area, against a wall about 20 feet from the round table. While I was still in bed, John Roberts showed up to be interviewed by my friend. They sat down at the table about 20 feet from my bed. I pretended I was asleep for the duration of the interview, which I didn't hear. No introductions were made.
3. The third image was from the evening of this second day. I was checking into my accommodations. Rather than being at a downtown hotel, however, I was staying at a mansion about 20 minutes from downtown. It served as a sort of retreat center/mini-hotel for very few guests. I drove in and parked in the 6-car garage in the rear. I was driving an exotic car, like a Jaguar, or, more properly said, something more exotic than I would normally drive. I came in through the back entrance and was told I was in a downstairs two-bedroom suite. I put my luggage there, looked around the house, returned to the suite and was surprised to see that I had a suitemate: John Roberts. We introduced ourselves and exchanged small talk, and he told me that he was there for a few days before the hearings so that he could collect his thoughts and be fully prepared for Monday. We retired to our respective rooms without more talk.
4. The next morning we arose and got further acquainted. I asked him about his schedule, and he said he was free until a 1:30 lunch. I thought it odd that the lunch was so late but said nothing. I offered to take him there and he thought for a moment and said he might accept my invitation because he didn't know about his transportation arrangements. Then we sat down at a small round table, like a bar table, with elevated stools facing each other. We started to talk very naturally, and I found myself asking him questions, first about his judicial philosophy and then about his personal life. To my surprise, he was not just friendly and very open to me, but he began to reveal details about his legal and personal life which I had read nowhere else but which had such a ring of authenticity to them that I simply decided to accept them with gratitude as true.
Then, after we conversed in this way for a rather long time, he looked at me and said, "I am really worried about one thing, Bill." He didn't swear me to secrecy. I don't know why he didn't. Perhaps the flow our our conversation was so free and so genuine that such a caveat would have seemed out of place in our conversation. But he proceeded to tell me about an incident in his past that worried him. He didn't know if anyone knew about it on the Senate Judiciary Committee. He described it very vividly to me, and I remember nodding in sympathetic understanding as we looked into each other's eyes. In deference to him, I cannot relate here what he told me.
5. The final image was seemingly unrelated to the other four. It seemed to occur sometime after our conversation was over but there really was no temporal connection with anything that came before. I had gone upstairs in the big mansion to the master bedroom suite. It was never used. I recall entering into it. The suite was suffused with light from several skylights and windows. In the center of the suite was a huge bed, almost of double king size. One side of the bed was up against a narrow railing that looked down to the downstairs floor about 10 feet below. The last image I recall was where I was lying on my back on the middle of the bed, fully clothed, looking upwards towards the skylights, shielding my eyes against the bright rays that penetrated into the room. I had a small smile on my face as I thought about everything and nothing, and I rested there, undisturbed.
Then, as John Bunyan says at the end of Pilgrim's Progress, "Lo I awoke, and behold it was a dream."
Copyright © 2004-2007 William R. Long