The Roberts Court

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The New York Times editorial board lets loose some Independence Day weekend venom at the Supreme Court’s record under Chief Justice John “Balls and Strikes” Roberts, which has now reaches its 10th anniversary. Some recent good news notwithstanding, the verdict is not a kind one.

What is the most useful way to understand the direction of the Supreme Court 10 years into the tenure of Chief Justice John Roberts Jr.? After a series of high-profile end-of-term rulings that mostly came out the way liberals wanted, it is tempting to see a leftward shift among the justices.

That would be a mistake. Against the backdrop of the last decade, the recent decisions on same-sex marriage, discrimination in housing, the Affordable Care Act and others seem more like exceptions than anything else. If they reflect any particular trend, it is not a growing liberalism, but rather the failure of hard-line conservative activists trying to win in court what they have failed to achieve through legislation.

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