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Is he or isn’t he? Although the White House claims John Roberts Jr. doesn’t recall being a member of the Federalist Society, an article he penned about the 1992-93 Supreme Court term appeared in the conservative Public Interest Law Review, a now-defunct journal backed by the group. The table of contents of the 1994 edition reads like a who’s who of today’s most prominent Republican lawyers�Federalist Society Executive Vice President Leonard Leo, deputy attorney general nominee Timothy Flanigan, and former Solicitor General Theodore Olson, to name a few. While Roberts’ article seems to connect him to the conservative legal society, it does less to elucidate his judicial views. Roberts, fresh from his four-year stint as deputy solicitor general, displayed his now-trademark reserve in examining a term that, he wrote, “belied the popular myth that the current Court is politically conservative.” And though Roberts hedges his conclusions about the term throughout, he offers a somewhat unusual disclaimer at the outset, saying the views he expresses in the article are not necessarily those of his “former client, the United States.” Regardless, there is precious little of Roberts’ views in the piece. The closest he comes to a critique is a brief discussion of why the Court seemed to take only cases that were “of scant interest to anyone beyond the parties and the specialized bar practicing in the particular area of law at issue,” as opposed to cases of high public controversy. Later, Roberts notes it’s difficult to assess the Court because the justices work as “nine separate institutions, with little effort or evident inclination on the part of the nine to move together as a single unit.” But Roberts does suggest some leanings. For instance, he sees a “silver lining” in TXO Production Corp. v. Alliance Resources Corp. because, as Roberts wrote, the Court hinted that a “punitive damage award may violate substantive due process” � a pro-business result. And he points to the Court’s increasing reliance on what he calls more “objective economic realities” in antitrust disputes as “bad news for professors and lawyers, good news for business.” Even so, Roberts remains careful to the end, concluding the piece by saying the fact that the Court took fewer important cases during the term was “not necessarily a bad thing.” � Emma Schwartz

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