U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts is expected to have a pivotal role in 24 critical cases that the justices are expected to issue rulings on over the next two weeks.
Roberts, 64, who was confirmed in 2005 after being nominated by President George W. Bush, has seen his profile rising since last year’s retirement of centrist conservative Justice Anthony Kennedy, CNN reports.
Kennedy, 82, who was replaced by Brett Kavanaugh, cementing the court’s 5-4 conservative majority, proved to be a key swing vote in many cases throughout his 30-year tenure.
But while Roberts has been to the right of Kennedy, he could have an important role in opinions on such issues as adding a citizenship question to the 2020 Census; whether state court judges can restrict partisan gerrymanders that make it nearly impossible to unseat a controlling party; and whether the “Peace Cross,” a 40-foot World War I memorial, can remain on public land in Maryland.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, the court’s senior liberal member, warned last week that many 5-4 rulings would soon come and lamented that Kennedy’s retirement would be “of greatest consequence” for the cases to be decided.
With conservatives holding the majority, many forthcoming rulings could benefit Republicans and the Trump administration, though Roberts has long worked to portray the court as neutral, CNN reports.
“People need to know that we’re not doing politics,” he said in February at Belmont University in Nashville. “They need to know that we’re doing something different, that we’re applying the law.”
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