June 30, 2012 |
WASHINGTON - Chief JusticeJohn G. Roberts Jr.considers it an insult when he hears it said that he and the justices are playing politics. He has always insisted his sole duty was to decide the law, not to pick the political winners. Until this week, however, not many were inclined to believe him. Those on the left - and the right - were convinced they could expect Roberts to be a reliable vote on the conservative side. But no more. The chief justice took control of two of the biggest politically charged cases in a decade, involving the Affordable Care Act and Arizona's immigration law, and he fashioned careful, lawyerly rulings that resulted in victories for the Obama administration.
March 13, 2011 |
The Supreme Court, often described as conservative, divided and pro-corporate, has been sounding different notes in recent weeks. The justices have been unanimous, or nearly so, in dealing defeats to employers and to corporations. They have also taken the side of hard-luck plaintiffs who were mistreated by the government. Twice recently the court ruled for fired workers and expanded the reach of anti-discrimination laws. It revived an injured motorist's suit against Mazda, refusing to shield automakers from safety claims.
October 4, 2010 |
As the Supreme Court begins its new term Monday, its sixth with John G. Roberts Jr. as chief justice, the reality is that this is the most conservative court since the mid-1930s. Since Richard Nixon ran for president in 1968, conservatives have sought to change constitutional law, and they have succeeded in virtually every area. During the first years of the Roberts court, it has consistently ruled in favor of corporate power, such as in holding that corporations have the 1st Amendment right to spend unlimited amounts in independent political campaigns.
July 6, 2010 |
The Supreme Court wrapped up its term last week after landmark decisions protecting the right to have a gun and the right of corporations to spend freely on elections. But the year's most important moment may have come on the January evening when the justices gathered at the Capitol for President Obama's State of the Union address. They had no warning about what was coming. Obama and his advisors had weighed how to respond to the court's ruling the week before, which gave corporations the same free-spending rights as ordinary Americans.
January 24, 2010 |
Five years ago, when John G. Roberts Jr. became the Supreme Court's chief justice, he described the job as though he would be a minor functionary, more like an umpire behind the plate than the star of the game. He also said he favored minimal and narrow decisions, rather than broad but divisive rulings that would abruptly change the law. But in recent weeks, Roberts has shown that when he has the support of moderate Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, he is willing to move boldly on behalf of conservative causes.
June 29, 2009 |
When John G. Roberts Jr. took over as chief justice at the Supreme Court four years ago, he sounded the same theme that President Obama did more recently. The court was too divided and too polarized, he said, and he proposed a type of judicial bipartisanship. He said he would seek a broader agreement among the justices, even if it sometimes meant deciding cases more narrowly.