Chief Justice John Roberts at Drake University

"Too much information can be as problematic as too little," Chief Justice John Roberts, Junior, at Drake University on October 2, 2008.

What follows is a short live blog of the justice’s speech, followed by a link to the audio of that half-hour-long address:

U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, Junior, is speaking today at Drake University in Des Moines, the latest in a long line of justices who have been invited to speak here.  I am at present sitting on the floor, turned to my left, typing on my laptop which is perched on an arena seat in the Knapp Center here at Drake University.  A small group of photographers — video and still — stand in front of me, looking straight at the stage where Robetts will be positioned for his speech. 

Drake University president David Maxwell delivered some brief welcoming remarks, thanking Dwight Opperman, the Drake alum (a billionaire) who contributed the money to fund this lecture series.  The crowd got to is feet to applaud Opperman, then the Drake law school dean returned to the microphone to introduce Roberts to the crowd.

At 3:13 p.m. the 17th chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court got to the mic, beginning with his thanks for a "generous introduction.  I wish my parents would have been here to hear it.  My father would have loved it and my mother would have believed it." The crowd laughed.

Roberts noted that eight of the past 10 Drake lectures in this series have been delivered by justices on the court, attracted, Roberts joked, by "the opportunity to talk about the other justices, although I will resist that temptation."

Roberts noted the court is "gearing up" for the opening of the term on Monday. "We are in the midst of a comprehensive renovation of the Supreme Court Building, the first since my predecessor Charles Evans Hughes opened the building in 1935," Roberts said.  "…Now, there were a lot of reasons that we had to renovate the building, including the fact that we were literally losing our marbles.  The occasional chunk of marble would dislodge and fall from above, threatening to shorten life tenure."

The entire speech should last 40 minutes or so.  UPDATEHere’s the Radio Iowa story, with an audio file at the end of the half hour long speech.  Hint:  Roberts cautioned lawyers against over-reliance on web-based tools of the trade, suggesting they need to be able to think, not just regugitate data they’ve found on-line.


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About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.