Serving in the Reagan White House as a young lawyer, future Chief Justice John Roberts showed promise as a music critic in addition to his more obvious talents: “I hate to sound like one of Mr. [Michael] Jackson’s records,” Roberts wrote, “constantly repeating the same refrain…”
Roberts feared sounding like a Michael Jackson record as he sought to prevent President Reagan from providing testimonial letters to be used by Jackson’s public relations team. Roberts wanted to keep President Reagan from embarrassments such as this: “Your deep faith in God and adherence to traditional values are an inspiration to all of us, especially young people searching for something real to believe in.”
Roberts also used a version of the lawyer’s slippery slope argument against the Jackson public relations team’s requests for a letter from President Reagan. Roberts warned against “the precedent that would be set by such a letter.” He noted that the Washington Post was reporting that “some youngsters were turning away from Mr. Jackson in favor of a newcomer who goes by the name ‘Prince,’” who was planning a Washington concert. The chief was right to be concerned, but Jackson himself was at the bottom of this particular slope.