The Roberts Court at Age Three


On June 26, 2008, the Supreme Court completed the third term of the John Roberts era. This article develops four themes concerning where the Supreme Court is right now and where it is likely to be going. First, so far, the Roberts Court has been characterized by its dwindling docket. Second, although it is called the Roberts Court out of tradition and deference to the Chief, in actuality it is the Anthony Kennedy Court. When it matters most, Kennedy is virtually always the deciding vote in 5-4 decisions. Third, this is the most conservative Court since the mid-1930s and is a Court that generally favors the government over claims of individual rights and business interests over those of employees and consumers. Fourth, the 2008 election is likely to determine whether the Court becomes more conservative or stays ideologically the same. It is unlikely that the Court will become more liberal during the next presidency or even the next five to ten years.

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