The Corner

Is John Roberts the Most Interesting Man in the World?

I don’t link to Salon lightly, but if this is true it adds just another layer of weirdness to the NFIB v. Sebelius decision. Following up on Jan Crawford’s reports that Chief Justice Roberts switched his vote while drafting his opinion, thus prompting Justices Kennedy, Alito, Scalia, and Thomas to write a rare joint dissent, Salon’s court watcher Paul Campos says he has it from a top source that Roberts in fact wrote much of the dissent, as well:

It’s notable that Crawford’s sources insist on the claim that the joint dissent was authored specifically in response to Roberts’ majority opinion, without any participation from him at any point in the drafting process that created it. It would, after all, be fairly preposterous for the four dissenters to jointly “author” an opinion that was in large part written originally by the author of the majority opinion to which the joint dissenters were now so flamboyantly objecting.

Yet that, I am told by a source within the court with direct knowledge of the drafting process, is exactly what happened. My source insists that “most of the material in the first three quarters of the joint dissent was drafted in Chief Justice Roberts’ chambers in April and May.” Only the last portion of what eventually became the joint dissent was drafted without any participation by the chief justice.

As Benjy Sarlin quipped on Twitter: “He writes the opinion AND the dissent. He is….the most interesting man in the world.”

Daniel Foster — Daniel Foster is a former news editor of National Review Online.

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