When Does C.J. Roberts Write Strongly-Worded Dissents?:
In the Sunday New York Times, Linda Greenhouse had a very interesting article on Chief Justice Roberts' dissent in Massachusetts v. EPA. An excerpt:
  This case was a rude reminder that [Chief Justice Roberts'] careful self-presentation comes with a price. He is no more likely than any other justice to yield on what he regards as a matter of principle. But the raised expectation of consensus magnifies a defeat like this one: his consensus project lost as well.
  That Chief Justice Roberts cast a dissenting vote in Massachusetts v. Environmental Protection Agency was no great surprise. He had advocated a narrow view of standing, particularly in environmental cases, since his days as a lawyer in the Reagan administration. . .
  It was his vehemence rather than his dissenting vote that was the surprise. This was no dry document written by a law clerk. The chief justice was spending capital and speaking in his own voice.
  Roberts' dissent in Massachusetts v. EPA reminds me a lot of his dissent in Georgia v. Randolph, the Fourth Amendment case from last year. First, the style and reasoning are somewhat similar. Both are intense and sharply worded; neither pulls any punches. In both cases, the majority was creating new and uncertain ground to reach a satisfying result in a case with sympathetic facts. In both cases, Roberts had then-existing precedent on his side. In both cases, he urged the Court to stick to the preexisting approach rather than to break new ground.

  And just as importantly, both dissents were strategically placed. In both cases, the Court was almost evenly divided, and attracting just one more vote to his side would have likely changed the outcome. Masachusetts v. EPA was 5-4, and getting Kennedy's vote would have led the Court to affirm instead of reverse. Georgia v. Randolph ended up being 5-3, with Alito not yet participating, but a 4-4 vote would have led to reargument with Alito and a likely outcome the other way. In both cases, Roberts assigned the primary dissent to himself and wrote a piercing opinion, perhaps to see if he could pick off the swing vote in the case.

  It's too early to tell if these two cases will reflect a broader trend, both because these parallels may be a coincidence and because Roberts may change tactics in the future. But I did find the similarities between these two dissents pretty interesting. (And I'm very interested to know if others saw the same parallels; some of these judgments are of course a matter of opinion.)