Chief Justice John Roberts: Institutionalist or Hubris-in-Chief?

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Washington & Lee Law Review Online

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The conventional wisdom among Supreme Court scholars and commentators is that Chief Justice John Roberts is an institutionalist who cares deeply about both his personal legacy and the Supreme Court’s prestige over time. This essay challenges that belief. While the Chief certainly cares about how the Court is perceived by the public, as do most of the justices, what most defines Roberts is his hubris—not a concern for the Court’s legitimacy or even his own place in history. Across the vast landscape of constitutional law, Roberts has distorted precedent and ignored text and history to further his own policy preferences. A master of the long game and the catchy sound bite, hubris, not institutionalism, most defines the Chief Justice of the United States.

Recommended Citation

Eric J. Segall, Chief Justice John Roberts: Institutionalist or Hubris-in-Chief?, 78 Wash. & Lee L. Rev. Online 107 (2021),