It’s the Roberts Court Now

Last week, the Supreme Court ended one its most hotly contested terms in decades despite issuing the fewest signed opinions in 158 years. Headlines included abortion, LGBTQ rights, immigration, gun rights, criminal justice, religious liberty, and the powers of the presidency. (For a rundown of all the major cases, check out our pre-term guide to the top 10 cases and Advisory Opinions podcast.)

But at a time when political polarization is reaching new heights and both political parties want to energize their voters about the dangers of the other, the most frequent commentary often involved which side was losing more ground in these legal battles. Democrats discussed packing the court after a Biden victory. Republicans debated whether the project of legal conservatism should be abandoned altogether.

If a person can be judged by the enemies he makes, it would be fair to wonder after the October Term 2019 (OT19) whether the Supreme Court has any friends left. But one justice seemed to find himself with friends whichever way he looked.

As Chris Walker, law professor at The Ohio State University, told The Dispatch, “this has been such an unusual and important term at the Supreme Court, and Chief Justice Roberts has been at the center of it.”

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