Roberts's Harvard Roots: A Movement Was Stirring

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John G. Roberts Jr. arrived at Harvard in the fall of 1973, a nascent conservative from a Catholic boarding school in the Republican Midwest, transplanted to Cambridge, Mass., at a time when campus conservatism seemed to be in hibernation. Prep school Marxists blustered about armed struggle, and students picketed liquor stores for carrying a boycotted wine. Conservatives were casually dismissed as a joke.

Judge Roberts, President Bush's Supreme Court nominee, spent the next six years at Harvard and Harvard Law after Watergate and before the election of President Ronald Reagan -when it was almost possible to graduate from Harvard without ever encountering a card-carrying conservative in a seminar or a dining hall or having seriously to confront a conservative position.

"Conservatives were like the queers on campus," said Eric Rofes, a classmate of Judge Roberts who later became an organizer on gay issues. "People made fun of them. They mocked them and saw them as jokers or losers. I don't think in the moment many people realized this was the start of an ascending movement. People felt it was like the last cry of the 1950's."

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