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Justice John Roberts

You may have watched it already, but the commencement address from Chief Justice John Roberts at his son’s middle school graduation has become the most unusual kind of social media sensation: one of laud and honor. Roberts’ remarks run just a little less than 11 minutes and deal with the ordinary considerations of life for ninth graders and their parents. But Roberts said some remarkable things.

In acknowledging the remarkable privilege of young men bound for the best preparatory schools in the country, the chief justice wished them the gift of adversity:

“From time to time in the years to come, I hope you will be treated unfairly, so that you will come to know the value of justice. I hope you will suffer betrayal, because that will teach you the importance of loyalty. Sorry to say, but I hope you will be lonely from time to time, so that you don’t take friends for granted. I wish you bad luck again, from time to time, so that you will be conscious of the role of chance in your life, and understand that your success is not completely deserved, and the failure of others is not completely deserved, either. And when you lose, as you will from time to time, I hope every now and then your opponent will gloat over your failure. It is a way for you to understand the importance of sportsmanship. I hope you will be ignored, so you will learn the importance of listening to others. And I hope you will have just enough pain to learn compassion.” – John Roberts

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