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Less than a year in office as chief justice, and John Roberts Jr. is already the subject of a biography, complete with behind-the-scenes details and family photos. Never mind that the book, John G. Roberts, Jr.: Chief Justice, is only 44 pages long and its author, Lisa Tucker McElroy, says the target audience maxes out at middle-school-aged kids. It’s still a great read and a must-buy for anyone of any age seeking insights into the new chief justice. Copies have turned up in the Supreme Court gift shop and soon will be available elsewhere and online. Did you know, for example, that Roberts’ favorite color is green and he is a chocolate lover whose office maintains a ready supply of Hershey’s Kisses? And that the marshal’s office’s first order of business after he became chief justice, last September, was to buy car seats so Roberts’ kids, Josie and Jack, could ride with him in official Court vehicles? And that Roberts cooks up a mean platter of shrimp marinara at family gatherings? McElroy, an assistant professor at Southern New England School of Law, gathered those and other details during in-person interviews with Roberts, his family, and friends last fall. Her easy access may be explained by the similar book she wrote about now-retired Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, and another popular kids book she wrote with the help of O’Connor’s granddaughter Courtney, titled Meet My Grandmother: She’s a Supreme Court Justice. Roberts was enthusiastic about a book that would speak to young people, McElroy says, and he gave her details about his growing-up days in Long Beach, Ind. � tooling around the neighborhood on his Sting-Ray bike and water-skiing on nearby Lake Michigan with his three sisters. “Kids can read this book and say, �I have a family just like that,’ ” McElroy says. In her conversations with Roberts, McElroy observes, “what impressed me was how down-to-earth and how at ease he was.” She adds, “He is one of the nicest people I’ve ever met.” When Roberts heads to the Court cafeteria for a muffin in the morning, she notes, he’ll ask others in his office if he can pick up one for them, too. Roberts still takes his kids to school or camp, and during the school year works with them on homework assignments, including making a styrofoam model of the planet Neptune with Josie and a paper Thanksgiving turkey in a pirate’s outfit with Jack, who is deeply into pirates these days. One priceless photo in the book, from last Halloween, has Josie adjusting Groucho glasses on the chief justice’s face. During their talks, Roberts spoke often about what an honor it is to be chief justice, tasked with preserving a much-admired institution. “I want to carry it forward. It’s a heavy responsibility,” Roberts is quoted as saying. “It’s a heavy responsibility. I’m going to roll up my sleeves and get on with it.” McElroy’s book also answers a burning question that lingers from Roberts’ first day on the bench. He wore a black robe with unadorned sleeves, breaking from the practice of his predecessor and mentor, William Rehnquist, who added gold stripes to his robe. Why did Roberts choose plain black? “You have to earn your stripes, and I thought it was a little early to be doing that,” Roberts explained to McElroy. “It seemed to me that simple black was more appropriate. On the other hand, no one ever looks to me for fashion advice.” Tony Mauro can be contacted at [email protected]

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