This article conceptualizes the elusive phenomenon of judicial statesmanship, and it defends statesmanship as a core dimension of judicial role. It argues that judicial statesmanship defines a virtue in the role of a judge. Statesmanship charges judges with approaching cases so as to facilitate the capacity of the legal system to legitimate itself by accomplishing two paradoxically related preconditions and purposes of law: expressing social values as social circumstances change and sustaining social solidarity amidst reasonable, irreconcilable disagreement. The article argues that judicial statesmanship is not sufficient to legitimate the legal system because there are other major purposes of law with which statesmanship can be in tension, especially those advanced by maintaining fidelity to such rule-of-law values as consistency and transparency. The article illustrates the present importance of judicial statesmanship by engaging some instances of its existence or absence during the US Supreme Court's October 2006 Term.