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Aspen Ideas Festival: Joan Biskupic, author of 'The Chief: The Life and Turbulent Times of Chief Justice John Roberts'

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Chief Justice John Roberts
Chief Justice John Roberts
Mark Wilson | Getty Images

According to the Constitution, the chief justice of the United States will preside over the Senate impeachment trial of President Trump.

Is the current chief justice of the United States a conservative activist or a neutral umpire concerned first and foremost with preserving the institution of the Supreme Court?

Joan Biskupic says he may be a bit of both.

She is a journalist and author who has known and observed Roberts for two decades. Biskupic said Roberts is torn between two, often divergent, priorities: to carry out a conservative agenda and to protect the court’s image and his place in history.

When named to the highest spot on the court, Roberts was the youngest chief justice in more than 200 years. What does his leadership mean for the court, the constitution and the future of the country?

He has expressed concern about the polarization in the country, and stresses the importance of compromise as he tries to bring his colleagues together. Biskupic said Roberts did not want to see lots of 5-4 decisions, and would like to see a lot more unanimous decisions.

Joan Biskupic spoke with legal historian Jeffrey Rosen on June 29, 2019, at the Aspen Ideas Festival in Aspen, Colo. Rosen is president and CEO of the National Constitution Center and professor of law at Georgetown. Biskupic is legal analyst for CNN.