Noting that Roberts’ young age ensures he’ll lead the Court for decades, the chief justice was chosen based mainly on his opinion in the health care challenge. That opinion, the magazine observed, simultaneously gave full force to the limits of the Commerce Clause while upholding the president’s chief legislative achievement and staving off charges of playing politics.
Roberts “managed simultaneously to save the court’s credibility while also staying faithful to the corporate power to which he has shown deference his entire career,” the magazine notes. “No one saw this coming or had reason to believe that John Roberts was even capable of such nimbleness.”
Roberts joins a list of notables including tennis champion Serena Williams, shooting victim Trayvon Martin and rocker Bruce Sprinsteen.