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See also: "Ideological leanings of U.S. Supreme Court justices

The Roberts Court has been described as "conservative in most cases, liberal in some," with (prior to the death of Justice Scalia) five conservative-leaning justices and four liberal-leaning justices. Alito, Thomas, Kennedy, Roberts, and Scalia (prior to his death) generally have taken more conservative positions, while Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan have generally taken more liberal positions. Souter and Stevens had also been part of the liberal bloc prior to their respective retirements. These two blocs of voters have lined up together in several major cases, though Justice Kennedy has often sided with the liberal bloc. Roberts has also served as a swing vote, often advocating for narrow rulings and compromise among the two blocs of Justices.[3][5] Though the Court often does divide along ideological lines, attorney and "SCOTUSblog founder "Tom Goldstein has noted that many cases are decided 9-0 and that the individual judges hold a wide array of views.[6]

The judicial philosophy of Roberts on the Supreme Court has been assessed by leading court commentators including Jeffrey Rosen[7] and Marcia Coyle.[8] Although Roberts is identified as having a conservative judicial philosophy, his vote in "National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius (2012) upholding the constitutionality of the "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) has caused reflection in the press concerning the comparative standing of his conservative judicial philosophy compared to other sitting justices of conservative orientation. Roberts is also compared to other recent conservative justices no longer on the Court. Regarding "William Rehnquist, Roberts is seen as having a more moderate conservative orientation particularly when "Bush v. Gore for Rehnquist is compared to Roberts' vote for ACA.[9]

Regarding Roberts' immediate and current peers on the bench, his judicial philosophy is seen as more moderate and conciliatory than that of "Antonin Scalia and "Clarence Thomas.[7][9] Unlike Scalia, Roberts has not indicated any particularly enhanced reading of "originalism or framer's intentions as has been plainly evident in Scalia's speeches and writings.[8] Roberts' strongest inclination on the Court has been to attempt to re-establish the centrist orientation of the Court as being party neutral, in contrast to his predecessor Rehnquist who had devoted significant effort to promote a states rights orientation for the Court. Roberts' voting pattern reflecting his conservative judicial philosophy is most closely aligned to "Samuel Alito on the Court,[10] the latter of whom has also become associated with libertarian trends in the conservative judicial philosophy.[7]

List of Roberts Court opinions[edit]

List of United States Supreme Court cases by the Roberts Court


  1. ^ Liptak, Adam (2010-07-24). "Court Under Roberts Is Most Conservative in Decades". New York Times. "New York, New York. Retrieved 2010-08-05. 
  2. ^ Chiusano, Scott (29 September 2015). "Landmark decisions during John Roberts' decade as Chief Justice". New York Daily News. Retrieved 25 February 2016. 
  3. ^ a b Wolf, Richard (29 September 2015). "Chief Justice John Roberts' Supreme Court at 10, defying labels". USA Today. Retrieved 25 February 2016. 
  4. ^ Liptak, Adam (18 May 2015). "Supreme Court Ruling Altered Civil Suits, to Detriment of Individuals". New York Times. Retrieved 3 March 2016. 
  5. ^ Fairfield, Hannah (26 June 2014). "A More Nuanced Breakdown of the Supreme Court". New York Times. Retrieved 25 February 2016. 
  6. ^ "Goldstein, Tom (June 30, 2010). "Everything you read about the Supreme Court is wrong (except here, maybe)". "SCOTUSblog. Retrieved July 7, 2010. 
  7. ^ a b c Rosen, Jeffrey (13 July 2012). "Big Chief". 
  8. ^ a b Marcia Coyle, The Roberts Court: The Struggle for the Constitution, 2013
  9. ^ a b Scalia, Antonin; "Garner, Bryan A. (2008) Making Your Case: The Art of Persuading Judges (St. Paul: Thomson West) "ISBN 978-0-314-18471-9.
  10. ^ "Which Supreme Court Justices Vote Together Most and Least Often". The New York Times. 24 June 2014. 

Further reading[edit]

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