Much will be written about Chief Justice Roberts's opinion for the court in Hollingsworth v. Perry, holding that supporters of California's Proposition 8 lacked constitutional "standing" to defend in federal court California's ballot initiative against same-sex marriage.
Justice Roberts is consistent in his views of the notion of standing to challenge laws. This cannot be said of the Left.
In 2005, when Roberts was nominated to the court, he drew heavy fire from the left for his 1993 article in the Duke Law Review, "Article III Limits on Statutory Standing." According to many on the left, Roberts's appointment to the court would further close the courthouse doors to favored liberal causes, by reinforcing the Rehnquist Court's precedents on "standing" as a limit on the federal courts' jurisdiction.
EarthJustice, an environmental group, warned, "Would John Roberts Deny Your Access To The Court?" MoveOn.org criticized Roberts's agreement with Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, a seminal case reinvigorating the doctrine of standing. The Washington Post published an entire op-ed largely about Robert's view of standing.
The biggest foreshadow of today's decision came at Roberts's confirmation hearing, when Senator Leahy argued that the courts' use of standing as a check on courts' jurisdiction threatens to insulate governors' and presidents' unlawful acts from judicial review: "So I ask you this. People, if their President or their Governor fails to enforce these laws, why should not individuals have access to courts"?
I suspect that Senator Leahy is a lot less worried about that today than he was in 2005. His demand for the courts to allow citizens to enforce "these laws" is probably less urgent when "these laws" include Prop 8, rather than environmental laws. Chalk it up as another example of "strange new respect."