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One of the right's most respected legal thinkers, Richard Posner, revealed in an NPR interview this week that his frustrations with today's Republican party have driven him to become "less conservative."

Actually, the Reagan-appointed judge (who sits on the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago) used a bit more colorful language than I:

"I've become less conservative since the Republican Party started becoming goofy," he said.
What has pushed Posner over the edge, it appears, is the way in which the Republican establishment attempted to discredit Chief Justice John Roberts following the health care ruling. And his most colorful disparagements are in response to leaks from the Supreme Court's deliberations that were clearly meant to give Roberts a black eye.

Enjoy (with emphasis mine):

Posner...speculated that the leaks about the deliberations over the national health care law — which are apparently designed to discredit Chief Justice John Roberts' opinion upholding the law — would backfire. "I think these right-wingers who are blasting Roberts are making a very serious mistake," he said.

"Because if you put [yourself] in his position ... what's he supposed to think? That he finds his allies to be a bunch of crackpots? Does that help the conservative movement? I mean, what would you do if you were Roberts? All the sudden you find out that the people you thought were your friends have turned against you, they despise you, they mistreat you, they leak to the press. What do you do? Do you become more conservative? Or do you say, 'What am I doing with this crowd of lunatics?' Right? Maybe you have to re-examine your position."

It's a question many middle-of-the-road Republicans must be asking themselves: What am I doing with this crowd of lunatics?

Hopefully, it is a question Chief Justice Roberts has been asking himself, repeatedly.

Follow me on Twitter @David_EHG

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