Jeffrey Toobin writes a lot about the law, lawyers, even judges. His oeuvre includes, for example, The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court (2007). (NYT review here.) Plus he comments on CNN, which may say something about his leanings.
Anyway, he recently published a longish profile of Chief Justice John Roberts (in The New Yorker, another possible tip-off).
The title and subtitle offer a preview of what Mr. Toobin thinks of His Honor's work on the Court – "No More Mr. Nice Guy: The Supreme Court's stealth hard-liner".
The core of Mr. Toobin's argument — let's call it that — arrives about paragraph 12. He says:
After four years on the Court . . . 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.
The article came out around a week before President Barack Obama announced that he'd nominate Second Circuit Judge Sonia Sotomayor to replace retiring Associate Justice David Souter. But it doesn't mention the retirement. Call that serendipity.
Whatever you may think about the nomination — or Mr. Toobin's argument – a look back at the Chief Justice's confirmation hearing, and at his rulings since, adds interest to the debate about what sort of Associate Justice Judge Sotomayor might become.
Does it tell us anything? Anything useful, Blawgletter means?