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Noah Feldman

The Lonely Road Ahead for John Roberts

Abandoned by the right, chief justice is headed to be the next Felix Frankfurter. Remember him?
Standing against judicial activism.

Standing against judicial activism.

Photographer: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

The U.S. Supreme Court term that starts the first Monday in October will mark the 10th anniversary of John Roberts’s introduction as chief justice. He can celebrate by reflecting on the assertion by Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz that Roberts should never have been nominated.

Cruz’s repudiation of Roberts, a fellow product of the conservative legal establishment, is just the latest confirmation of an astonishing process: The chief justice, a lifelong conservative who hasn't abandoned his views, is nevertheless being abandoned by conservatives -- without being embraced by liberals.