Person of Interest

The Right-Winger on the Supreme Court

When George W. Bush appointed two Supreme Court justices, John Roberts breezed through confirmation while Democrats reserved their fire for Samuel Alito. Was that a mistake? In The New Yorker, Jeffrey Toobin writes “Roberts’s record is not that of a humble moderate but, rather, that of a doctrinaire conservative. The kind of humility that Roberts favors reflects a view that the Court should almost always defer to the existing power relationships in society. In every major case since he became the nation’s seventeenth Chief Justice, Roberts has sided with the prosecution over the defendant, the state over the condemned, the executive branch over the legislative, and the corporate defendant over the individual plaintiff. Even more than Scalia, who has embodied judicial conservatism during a generation of service on the Supreme Court, Roberts has served the interests, and reflected the values, of the contemporary Republican Party.” Obama may be leading the country leftward, but “Roberts’s service on the Court, which is, of course, likely to continue for decades, offers an enduring and faithful reflection of the Bush Presidency.”