• The Chief

  • The Life and Turbulent Times of Chief Justice John Roberts
  • By: Joan Biskupic
  • Narrated by: Jennywren Walker
  • Length: 14 hrs and 6 mins
  • 4.1 out of 5 stars (139 ratings)

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The Chief  By  cover art

The Chief

By: Joan Biskupic
Narrated by: Jennywren Walker
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Publisher's summary

An incisive biography of the Supreme Court's enigmatic chief justice, taking us inside the momentous legal decisions of his tenure so far.

John Roberts was named to the Supreme Court in 2005 claiming he would act as a neutral umpire in deciding cases. His critics argue he has been anything but, pointing to his conservative victories on voting rights and campaign finance. Yet he broke from orthodoxy in his decision to preserve Obamacare. How are we to understand the motives of the most powerful judge in the land?

In The Chief, award-winning journalist Joan Biskupic contends that Roberts is torn between two often divergent priorities: to carry out a conservative agenda and to protect the Court's image and his place in history. Biskupic shows how Roberts' dual commitments have fostered distrust among his colleagues, with major consequences for the law. Trenchant and authoritative, The Chief reveals the making of a justice and the drama on this nation's highest court.

©2019 Joan Biskupic (P)2019 Hachette Audio

Critic reviews

"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."—Washington Post

"Assiduously reported and briskly written...[Biskupic] suggests that [Roberts] 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."—New York Times Book Review

"An approachable volume about subjects often unapproachable. Biskupic, who has covered the Supreme Court for a quarter century, captures the tensions within the group, the interplay among the justices, and the pressures brought to bear on them by outsiders...The Chief is an ample and amiable companion to such insider accounts as The Brethren, the classic 1979 book by Bob Woodward and Scott Armstrong, and The Nine, the influential 2007 book by Jeffrey Toobin."—Boston Globe