Goldstein and Totenberg on the “Roberts Court”

On NPR with Robert Siegel:

SIEGEL: It is. Now, I’m surprised. You brought this to my attention that this is now 10 years since John Roberts has been chief justice. It doesn’t feel that long to me somehow (laughter) but I guess we’re older than I think. Can one now speak of a Roberts court that has a particular flavor to it?

TOTENBERG: His model for what a chief justice should be was Charles Evans Hughes, who was a great chief justice during the New Deal era and basically saved the Court in many ways from being dismantled or added to by Franklin Delano Roosevelt. He’s an institutionalist like Hughes, so that’s what I take from it. He writes beautifully. He is a – pretty much a purist on the First Amendment, he and Kennedy. But I don’t think he’s a beloved chief justice either.


GOLDSTEIN: Well, what we hear from inside the building is that he does run the Supreme Court and the federal judiciary very well and that’s his princip[al] job. But, of course, he only has one vote and he does not have a Roberts court in that sense. He finds himself in big case after big case often in dissent. Justice Kennedy is the justice who is really controlling the swings in the court as we know ’cause he’s in the ideological center. So there’s – he’s doing what he can, but frequently it’s not much.



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