Emory Law Journal


Charles Fried


When the editors of the Emory Law Journal invited me to open this symposium on judging, they proposed that I reflect on the present Chief Justice's widely debated statement of his conception of judging. John Roberts has been both praised and scorned for the metaphor he presented to the Senate Judiciary Committee at the hearing on his confirmation to be Chief Justice of the United States: "[I]t's my job to call balls and strikes." 1 It was an arresting use of language because, unlike so many metaphors that litter the discourse in and about the law--think of "sweeps too broadly" or "paints with a broad brush"--it is not so timeworn that, as George Orwell has noted, the original meaning has drained out of it and we are left only with a cliché, a ponderous way of saying something that could be said more directly.