By definition, someone who has had more than one seizure without
any other cause is determined to have epilepsy, said Dr. Marc
Schlosberg, a Washington Hospital Center neurologist who is not
involved in the Roberts case.
Whether Judge Roberts will need
anti-seizure medications to prevent another is something he and
his doctor will have to decide. But after two seizures, the
likelihood of another at some point is greater than 60 per cent.
Epilepsy is merely a term for a seizure disorder, but it is a
loaded term because it makes people think of lots of seizures,
cautioned Dr. Edward Mkrdichian, a neurosurgeon at the Chicago
Institute of Neurosurgery and Neuroresearch.
Still, Dr. Mkrdichian said anyone who has had two otherwise
unexplained seizures is at high risk for a third, and that he
puts such patients on anti-seizure medications.
“Having two seizures so many years apart without any known
culprit is going to be very difficult to figure out,” agreed Dr.
Max Lee of the Milwaukee Neurological Institute.
The incident occurred about 2 p.m. on a dock near Judge
Roberts's summer home in Port Clyde on Maine's Hupper Island. He
had just gotten off a boat and was returning home after running
errands, Ms. Arberg said.
Judge Roberts was taken by private boat to the mainland and
then transferred to an ambulance, St. George Fire Chief Tim
“He was conscious and alert when they put him in the rescue
(vehicle),” Mr. Polky said.
Once at the hospital, he underwent a “thorough neurological
evaluation, which revealed no cause for concern,” Ms. Arberg
Named to the court by U.S. President George W. Bush in 2005,
Judge Roberts is the youngest justice on a court in which the
senior member, John Paul Stevens, is 87. Mr. Bush was informed
of the hospitalization by his chief of staff, Josh Bolten, the
White House said.
Judge Roberts is the father of two young children.
Larry Robbins, a Washington lawyer who worked with Judge
Roberts at the Justice Department in 1993, said he drove Judge
Roberts to work for several months after the seizure that year.
Mr. Robbins said Judge Roberts never mentioned what the problem
was and he never heard of it happening again.
In 2001, Judge Roberts described his health as “excellent,”
according to Senate Judiciary Committee records.
He became chief justice after the death of William Rehnquist
in September, 2005, although Mr. Bush had first chosen him to
take Sandra Day O'Connor's seat when she announced her
retirement earlier that year.
Judge Roberts has led the Supreme Court to a more
conservative stance. Helped by Justice Samuel Alito, who won
confirmation in early 2006, conservatives have won twice as
often as they lost on the Roberts-led court. The 2006-07 term
brought limits on abortion rights, restrictions on school
integration programs and greater freedom for political
Judge Roberts earlier served as an appellate judge in
Washington and spent more than a decade before that as a lawyer
at the Hogan and Hartson law firm, where he specialized in
arguing cases before the Supreme Court.
Roberts also served in the Reagan and Bush administrations in
the 1980s and 1990s. He was a clerk for Judge Rehnquist after
graduating from Harvard Law School.