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July 21, 2005

Press Contact:
Kirston Fortune, UT Law Communications, (512) 471.7330 or (512) 825-9525.

UT law professor recalls Roberts as a hard worker

Supreme Court nominee took great care in preparing cases at Justice Department

By Ralph K.M. Haurwitz
Published Thursday, July 21, 2005, in The Austin American-Statesman

Photo of Professor Ronald Mann
Professor Ronald Mann
Photo Credit: Wyatt McSpadden

Ronald Mann, a professor at the University of Texas School of Law, worked on cases for John Roberts at the U.S. Department of Justice for two years during the early 1990s.

He remembers Roberts, whom President Bush has nominated for the Supreme Court, for the impeccable care he took in preparing to argue cases before the court.

"For people who were working for him on cases, it was a lot of work," Mann recalled Wednesday. "He started early. He did things over and over again. He wanted everything to be very polished, yet seemingly off the cuff.

"It was educational for someone young like me to see someone who had done a lot of cases still taking each one very seriously. It was very impressive."

Roberts at the time was one of four deputy solicitors general. Mann was one of 15 assistants to the solicitor general. A quarter of Mann's workload consisted of cases handled by Roberts.

The solicitor general's office represents the government in Supreme Court cases.

"The job he had then, which I think was important to his development as a lawyer, was representing the executive branch," Mann said. "He was very good at it."

During meetings, Roberts would typically listen carefully to others before offering his own legal analysis, Mann said.

"There wasn't a lot of sitting around talking about his personal views," Mann said. "This is someone who is respectful, thoughtful, deferential. He doesn't come in with a preconceived view. He says what he has to say quietly, and what he says is usually pretty good.

"He was very nice. He was very collegial. This is somebody people liked to work with."

rhaurwitz@statesman.com; 445-3604.

Related Link:
Professor Ronald Mann's Web Page: http://www.utexas.edu/law/faculty/mannrj1/