No Supreme Court Justice has ever said “Live from New York, it’s Saturday night,” at least on national television, but give it time. This month Glamour magazine named Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg one of its “Women of the Year.” And Justice Sonia Sotomayor recently told a muppet on “Sesame Street” that “Pretending to be a princess is fun, but it is definitely not a career,” which is true, unless you were born to the House of Windsor.
But none of his colleagues can compete with the media acclaim cascading over Chief Justice John Roberts after his solo decision upholding the Affordable Care Act this June. The editors of Esquire have included Chief Justice Roberts in their December “Americans of the Year” issue, praising his “nimbleness.” After the Citizens United decision on free speech and political spending, he found a way “to save the court’s credibility.”
Chief Justice Roberts shares the Esquire honor with Lena Dunham, the star of an Obama campaign ad and the creator and star of the HBO series about 20-something sexual angst called “Girls.”
She and the Chief Justice also make the Atlantic Monthly’s list of “Brave Thinkers” of 2012, by which they mean thinkers who agree with the Atlantic’s liberal editors. Ms. Dunham is praised for taking “the soft glow off the ‘chick flick,’” for instance when her character acts “like an underage street hooker to turn her boyfriend on,” while the Chief Justice gets credit for “maintaining the Court’s legitimacy” with a ruling “both brave and shrewd.” President Obama probably has Time’s “Person of the Year” nailed down, but expect the Chief to finish a close second.