Saturday, February 09, 2019
Pivotal votes cast by U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts in abortion and death penalty cases have underscored his new standing as the Supreme Court's ideological center and the outsized role he may play in major rulings for years to come. The role of Supreme Court swing vote had been filled by Justice Anthony Kennedy, who sided with its liberal bloc on divisive issues including abortion and gay rights before retiring last July.
Following Republican President Donald Trump's appointment in the past two years of Justices Kavanaugh and Gorsuch, Roberts now appears to be the most centrist of the five conservative justices who make up the court's majority. "He's now the center, and the center has moved to the right," American Civil Liberties Union lawyer Jennifer Dalven said. Roberts takes his institutional role seriously and is a defender of the federal judiciary at a time when Trump often criticizes judges and accuses the courts of political motives.
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