Chief Justice John Roberts At A Crossroads

Chief Justice John Roberts is only the 17th person to be Chief Justice.

He has been Chief Justice for 19 years by September, and will be the fourth longest serving Chief Justice at that point, already surpassing the average tenure for a Chief Justice, with the major exceptions of John Marshall (1801-1835) and Roger Taney (1836-1864)), and also Melville Weston Fuller (1888-1910).

Roberts worries, rightfully, about the reputation of the Supreme Court, as it is named after the people who hold the position of Chief Justice.

While a definite conservative, Roberts has tried to promote a rational center on the Court, but that has become much more difficult with the extreme rightward swing of the Court since Donald Trump made three appointments in his one term of office.

The feeling is that Roberts has lost any sense of control or ability to influence his colleagues.

There clearly are major splits on the Court, and Roberts has the difficult job of showing he can lead, or allowing Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito to dominate the Court.

It is hoped that Roberts, quietly, behind the scenes, has convinced the Trump appointees to tame the influence of Thomas and Alito, as otherwise, the reputation of the Court and his own historical reputation will lie in tatters.

This will be demonstrated when the Court finally makes its fateful decision this week on Presidential immunity, and the majority of the Court desperately needs to get this case right, or else, the American experiment in democracy will be in long term crisis!

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