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Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts during President Donald Trump's State of the Union in Congress in January. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts made the coronavirus crisis a central focus of his video address to graduating seniors at his son's high school Saturday, noting the pandemic "has pierced our illusion of certainty and control."

Details: Roberts said in the video, posted on the website of Westminster School in Simsbury, Connecticut, where his son is a senior, that the virus "has or will affect practically everyone in the world in one way or another." He urged students to show "compassion" to others "who may bear scars" from the outbreak.

  • "Humility. The pandemic should teach us at least that," he said. "Those who have lost jobs or small businesses, whose hopes and dreams may be slowly drifting out of reach."
  • He pointed out that the graduating students were probably among a "handful of the most challenged high school graduating classes since the class of 1942" during the Second World War. "This your moment, your time to begin leaving your mark on the world," he said.
"Today we call those graduates part of the Greatest Generation. What are they going to call you? Your challenge is not as great, but it’s big and it’s yours."

Of note: Roberts did not address current Supreme Court cases, such as on abortion issues, immigration or President Trump's tax returns. But he did touch on the impact of the coronavirus on the justices.

  • "We of course cannot shake each other’s hand now. I look forward to the day when that tradition can be revived," Roberts said.
  • And he noted he'd been asked recently about whether the justices wore robes during unprecedented hearings conducted "over the telephone". "I didn't know if the person was asking: judicial or bath," he joked, without elaborating further.

Go deeper

Aug 27, 2020 - Health

Most urban schools will start the year with all-remote learning

Reproduced from a CRPE report; Chart: Axios Visuals

About half of school districts across the country will return to school buildings in the fall — but the majority of the big-city school districts that also serve large numbers of at-risk students will be doing remote learning for the foreseeable future.

The big picture: There's a stark divide in school reopening plans between urban and rural districts, according to an analysis by the Center for Reinventing Public Education at the University of Washington Bothell.

Movie theaters go out of style

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Vaccination rates are going up, people are going out to restaurants again — although the new COVID variant may get in the way — but they still aren't rushing back to the movies.

By the numbers: Some 49% of pre-pandemic moviegoers are no longer hitting theaters, according to a study from the film research company The Quorum, as reported by the New York Times.

3 hours ago - Health

Vaccine mandates lose steam in the U.S. while Europe doubles down

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

European countries are doubling down on pressure campaigns to get people vaccinated just as Republicans continue to wage war — often successfully — against vaccine mandates in the U.S.

Why it matters: The starkly different approaches create a sharp contrast between the regions' approaches to vaccination, even as the Omicron variant rapidly spreads around the world.