John Roberts is without question one of the most controversial U.S. Supreme Court justices of our lifetime. The George W. Bush appointee has raised eyebrows with a number of his decisions on the bench, upholding controversial laws and striking down others.
However, it would be hard for anyone to argue with Roberts's soft-spoken wisdom imparted to high school graduates in June.
Speaking at his son's graduation from the prestigious Cardigan Mountain School in New Hampshire, Roberts raised eyebrows again. The chief justice of the Supreme Court wished upon the crowd of young students injustice, betrayal, loneliness, bad luck, and pain. Roberts's full quote reveals why he hopes for these things to befall his son and his classmates:
“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 roll of chance in 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 know the importance of listening to others, and I hope you will have just enough pain to learn compassion.”
Roberts went on in the speech to break from typical commencement speech fare, telling the students to avoid becoming complacent with themselves. “In a certain sense,” Roberts said, "you should not be yourself, you should try to become something better.”
You can watch the entire address here.