The day after the Supreme Court announced its bombshell health-care decision, Chief Justice John Roberts joked that he would be fleeing to Malta. It’s “an impregnable fortress island,” he quipped at a judges’ conference in Pennsylvania. “It seemed like a good idea.”
Roberts did indeed leave Washington for the Mediterranean island nation, where he taught a two-week class on the history of the Supreme Court. His real refuge, however, was Hupper Island—a small bit of land nearly kissing the coast of Maine where he and his family bought a modest vacation home in 2006. Roberts arrived on Hupper Island in early August and quickly settled into the soothing summer rituals that help him unwind and escape the pressures of his job. He puttered around in his little outboard motorboat, hiked along the island’s winding trails through lush meadows and birch groves, and took the kids to the nearby general store for ice-cream cones. But this year there was an addition to the routine: Roberts had a security detail trailing his every move. With the toxic climate that followed the health-care decision, court officials were leaving nothing to chance.