Like Biskupic’s previous books about Justices Sandra Day O’Connor, Antonin Scalia and Sonia Sotomayor, The Chief offers an extraordinarily insightful, thoughtful and accessible analysis of Roberts’s personal life, professional career, judicial experience and approach to constitutional interpretation. It is essential reading for anyone who truly wants to understand this pivotal moment in Supreme Court history ... Biskupic, who has known Roberts for more than 20 years, sat down with him for seven interviews totaling 20 hours for her book. She was therefore well-positioned to offer often stunning insight into Roberts’s life and thinking both on and off the court.
... assiduously reported and briskly written ... While Biskupic sheds light on when and how Roberts made [his decision on the Affordable Care Act in 2012], she is less illuminating on why ... The difficulty of understanding that historic vote is emblematic of something larger: just how hard it is to figure out who Roberts really is ... Biskupic all but throws up her hands toward the end of her narrative, calling Roberts an 'enigma,' but she suggests that he is pulled by two often-conflicting instincts. One is ideological: a desire to move the court rightward on race, religion and other issues. The other is institutional: an interest in the court being respected and seen as nonpolitical.
The first biography of Roberts has arrived...It will not be the last. A well-reported book, it sheds new light but is premature by decades ... Biskupic reports in detail for the first time on the machinations of the Obamacare case...Future scholars will endlessly probe this fascinating moment in judicial history, but Biskupic deserves credit for writing the first draft.