The temptation of John Roberts

America needs a court in its proper place, and Justice Roberts should remember a fundamental truth — the chief’s institution needs the chief’s originalism.

There’s a wooing going on. John Roberts, the chief justice of the Supreme Court, has been defined as the new “swing vote,” and he’s now the most powerful jurist in the land. And that means the legal Left is beckoning him. How? By putting him at war with himself — setting up a conflict between Roberts the “institutionalist” and Roberts the “originalist;” between Roberts the jurist and guardian of the legacy of the Court and Roberts the “ideologue.”

It works something like this — let’s suppose a key abortion case comes before the court, or the court considers an important conflict between the Trump administration and the special counsel’s office. According to this construct, it’s Roberts the ideologue who would vote to restrict abortion rights. It’s Roberts the conservative who would back the Trump administration. But a chief justice who cared about the institution of the Supreme Court? Well, he guards Roe. He checks Trump.