TODDLERS OF SUPREME COURT NOMINEES SHOULD NEITHER BE SEEN NOR HEARD [ archive ]:

27 Jan

While much is being made of Supreme Court nominee John Roberts’ judicial skills, the matter of his parenting choices seems to have slipped under the radar of groups more focused on fighting for the disclosure of his position on issues like Roe v. Wade.

Though called “one of best legal minds of his generation”–for winning most of the cases he argued before the Supreme Court on decisions potentially affecting our children–Roberts may have made a public gaffe affecting his own.

The judge reinforced–with his decision to bring pre-schoolers, 5-year-old Josephine and 4-year-old John, past their bedtime, into the media spotlight–that the laws of child rearing are as individual as common sense, telling as to where Robert’s priorities lie.

While setting the children down for a nap might have been a consideration, having the them stay up late to share the big moment reveals the reality that their next day’s schedules could be offset, and, as the nation saw in John, the children could be filled with vim, vigor and out of hand.

Mother and father stood while young John entertained the nation. The film crew captured Jane Roberts strong-arming him down the red carpet departure out of camera view. Acknowledging parenting styles are individual, Jane Roberts did not address her son’s attention-seeking antics with game playing, hugs, kisses or, better yet, gentle admonishment.

Within moments of John stealing his father’s limelight, talking heads reaching for a story made a 4-year-old the talk of prime-time broadcasts.

The judge, described as the man you’d be proud to know, effortlessly delivered his memorized speech without notice to his son on what amounted to a job interview the world is watching.

But isn’t that the point of being a parent–noticing our children, first and foremost? And above all else, aren’t they our mirrors after all?

Early comparisons have young John being compared to Camelot’s late prince. The memorable photo of John John, wearing little boy shorts and ankle socks while saluting his father’s coffin passing by, is not a platform upon which to make a comparison. The late Jacqueline Kennedy did as best as she could to raise her children out of media’s glare.

One wishes the Roberts’ would have followed the example of the First Lady and President, Princess Diana and others, and sheltered the children from the cameras, at least until they came of age, or at least waited to bring the children forth, after he is confirmed.

The Roberts’ decision to make the night a family affair may have fast tracked their seer-suckered-and-saddle-shoed 4-year-old on to a path he does not deserve. Media and classmates have a way of being cruel. Monikers can last a lifetime. Prince William oft referred to with his mum’s nickname “Wills,” while Harry, known less graciously as the “spare to the heir,” is chased with the expectation he will make a gaffe.

Imagine, if the judge is confirmed, 4-year-olds across America will hold ground when being taken to bed before 9 p.m., citing as precedent the night of July 19, 2005. “Well, if John Roberts could stay up late, then I can, too.” After all, who would want to argue with the decision of a Supreme Court judicial nominee?

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