I buy into the “John Roberts saved the court” stuff, and I find the right’s attacks on him nauseating. So much so that I’m going to link to link favorably to a piece by the odious Charles Lane on the topic:
What anonymice would spin Roberts’s performance as cowardly and then scuttle behind the protective folds of CBS’s source-protection promise? Who are the Cassius and Brutus inside the court, creeping up behind the chief justice with their verbal daggers?
I wouldn’t know. I do know that CBS’s reporter, Jan Crawford, is a fine journalist whose good relationship with Justice Clarence Thomas and his wife, Tea Party booster and sometime Daily Caller correspondent Ginni Thomas, is widely known around the Supreme Court.
Thomas comes off as a principled conservative in Crawford’s story, especially by comparison to the Chief Justice. He is one of the conservative justices who “deliberately avoid[s] news articles on the court when issues are pending (and avoid some publications altogether, such as The New York Times).” He doesn’t want to be “influenced by outside opinion or feel pressure from outlets that are perceived as liberal.”
By contrast, that wobbly John Roberts “pays attention to media coverage. As chief justice, he is keenly aware of his leadership role on the court, and he also is sensitive to how the court is perceived by the public.”