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John Roberts shatters expectations for the Supreme Court

June 29, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

Chief Justice John Roberts has shattered societal and political expectations of the conservative Supreme Court and thrust it -- and his stewardship -- to the center of the national scene.

In a series of striking moves on immigration, LGBTQ rights and abortion, Roberts has established himself as one of the most influential figures in America today as he as sided with the court's liberal bloc.

Although he did not join the four liberals' legal reasoning, likely stirring more anti-abortion litigation in the states, Roberts' move marked the first time he had ever voted to strike down an abortion regulation.

After that vote, Roberts faced right-wing wrath for joining the court's liberals to uphold the law.

Roberts' decision, however, offered the Trump administration and anti-abortion forces some consolation as he advanced a legal standard that would weaken the rationale of the 2016 precedent and enhance the ability of states to defend regulations in the future.

Now overseeing the final weeks of the high court's annual session, Roberts' pattern demonstrates that the strategic jurist has seriously recalibrated in the era of Trump, a president who gave the court two new justices and appeared to cement a 5-4 conservative-liberal lock for years to come.

In the LGBTQ case, for example, Trump appointee Justice Neil Gorsuch cast the decisive fifth vote in the dispute over interpretation of Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. The immigration decision was similarly grounded in a statutory, not constitutional, reasoning and can be reversed or altered in time by the Trump administration -- or a Joe Biden administration.

Roberts emphasized that the Louisiana law, requiring doctors who perform abortions to have "admitting privileges" at a nearby hospital, was identical to a credentialing requirement in a Texas statute invalidated by the court's 2016 ruling in the case of Whole Woman's Health v.

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