Supreme Court building

An imaginary defense from the chief justice

Kyle Smith of National Review Online puts words in Chief Justice John Roberts’ mouth.

I know that some of you are calling attention to how, when the liberals have five votes without me, I sometimes let forth a mighty roar denouncing the irreparable harm to our constitutional fabric, but when the liberals have only four votes without me, I tend to join them, while issuing a meek, technicality-filled ruling explaining why I’m unable to do anything conservative because, well, that’s just how the law works. I know that some of you are calling my judicial philosophy “Loserism” behind my back, and that is hurtful to me. Our side is not “losing.” That’s preposterous. I prefer the term “alternative winning.”

Let me explain how alternative winning works. This week, though I did stop the liberals from singling out religious schools for punishment in Montana, I know I disappointed conservatives when I voted the wrong way about abortion (again) and even voted against myself, just four years ago on a very similar case. What you don’t give me enough credit for is quoting Edmund Burke in my decision. Burke, I need not remind you, is a conservative icon. You think you would have gotten a Burke reference out of Sotomayor or Kagan? … I don’t merely let our adversaries whip conservatives about the head and neck with rusty chains, I quote Edmund Burke while I join them in whipping conservatives about the head and neck with rusty chains. …

… Some of you have pointed out that when I joined the liberals to save Obamacare eight years ago by declaring that the penalty for not complying with the individual mandate was a tax, I not only disagreed with the people who wrote the law but switched sides at the last minute. It wounded me when some of you described this as “chickening out.” I prefer to think of it as “alternative courage.”

Mitch Kokai / Senior Political Analyst

Mitch Kokai is senior political analyst for the John Locke Foundation. He joined JLF in December 2005 as director of communications. That followed more than four years as chie...

Reader Comments