Note to Justice Roberts:
Stay in Malta!
When you return, the right-wing commentariat intends to drag you into the court of public opinion and have you defrocked—if a judge can be defrocked. The batshit right has gone around the bend again since you left for your Mediterranean retreat and two weeks of teaching. And two weeks will not be long enough for them to forget that you gave yourself over to the left, which "pays for constitutional treason with accolades rather than pieces of silver."
One after another, they have described you as a traitor to conservative principle.
To Doug Bandow, blogging for the American Spectator: "Dishonest John is worse than either David Souter or John Paul Stephens. They were unabashed enemies of constitutional liberty." You, Justice Roberts, are the "Manchurian Jurist, whispering sweet rhetoric into conservatives' ears while delivering results to the leftist establishment that runs Washington."
Writing in Human Events, Pat Buchanan describes you as a politician who has sold out for better placement in the Pantheon of American Justices.
"Roberts desperately does not want to be seen by history as merely a competent but colorless member of the conservative bloc on the Supreme Court, another reliable vote in the Scalia Camp. He does not want Anthony Kennedy, the swing justice, to be making history, while he is seen as a predictable conservative vote. He wants to be seen among the cognitive elite, in this capital city that voted 93-7 for Obama, as a large and independent thinker." (Okay, I included that last sentence because I wanted to use cognitive elite, even if I'm not sure what it means.)
Rush Limbaugh describes you as a puppet of the media. "Because now the Washington, New York media runs [sic] the Supreme Court of the United States. They run the chief justice. They can intimidate, as they did." To close his argument, Limbaugh compares you to Limbaugh, and predictably you don't fare to well. "How far," Rush asks, "could I have gone if I cared what was said about me?"
Michael Savage attributes your betrayl of conservative principles to a judical tempraent altered by the prescription meds you take to control your epilipesy. But that's Michael Savage.
John Yoo, author of the Bush-Cheney administration memos that sanctioned torture, is accusing you of "providing a constitutional road map for the architects of the next great expansion of the welfare state."
In your absence, you've even lost Mitt, who implied in a response to a reporter's question that you wouldn't make his short list for the Court.
"Well, I certainly wouldn't nominate someone who I knew was gonna come out with a decision I violently disagreed with — or vehemently, rather, disagreed with," Romney said. "And he reached a conclusion I think that was not accurate and not an appropriate conclusion."
Romney and Rush are at least getting close to an argument that is as old as the New Deal, when legal scholars divided into "externalist" and "internalist" camps to describe Justice Owen Roberts's decision to change his vote on the minimum wage and depart from the five-justice conservative block impeding FDR's progressive legislation.
Externalists argued that that Justice Roberts was intimidated by events playing out beyond the confines of the Court: Roosevelt's landslide win in 1936, his threat to ask Congress to expand the size of the Court, public opinion aligning with the president. Internalists held that Roberts was persuaded by legal arguments advanced by the liberal justices on the Court.
What is going on in right wing circles is nothing like a debate among legal scholars. Clarence Thomas might call it "a high-tech lynching." And the noose that Limbaugh, Buchanan, Savage et al. have fashioned is for you, Justice Roberts.
Having lived in Washington, you will easily adapt to the insular nature of Malta. And the nights there are cooler, the food better, and there are no electrical outages.
Extend your teaching assignment. Stay away from Washington for awhile.