Politics

Chief Justice John Roberts’ Supreme Court at 10, Defying Labels

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts (AP/Michael Conroy)
Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts (AP/Michael Conroy)

WASHINGTON (USA Today) — Three years into John Roberts’ tenure as chief justice of the United States, the Supreme Court ruled by one vote that the Second Amendment protects the right to keep guns at home for self-defense.

Seven years later to the day, the court ruled — again by one vote — that the 14th Amendment requires states to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Leaning right on guns but left on gays, right on race and religion but left on health care reform, the Roberts Court reaches its 10-year anniversary this week at the fulcrum of American public policy, culture — and politics.

From the court’s landmark Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision that allows unlimited corporate spending in political campaigns to its razor-thin ruling that upheld President Obama’s signature health care law, the high court under Roberts has struggled to balance a strict reading of the Constitution and federal statutes against the pressures of politics and public opinion.

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