Roberts will be the new Anthony Kennedy

Roberts famously upheld the ACA years ago and has also expressed concern over the Supreme Court becoming perceived as partisan rather than a supposedly neutral and impartial branch.

With Kavanaugh now on the bench, I think we’ll see Roberts deliberately side with the four liberal justices from time to time in the years ahead in order to avoid the Supreme Court always being a 5 red, 4 blue outcome and also to keep everyone guessing. I think that Roberts feels that to a certain extent, the more unpredictable SCOTUS’ rulings are, the more “legit” it will be. Basically, he’ll be the new Anthony Kennedy; that unpredictable linchpin swing vote in the center.

While I suspect you are correct that Roberts is the most moderate of the conservative wing, and thus probably the ideological center of the court, I think it’s worth pointing out that many of the Court’s rulings are not, actually, 5-4. I don’t think Roberts has a quota he has to hit or anything like that. I hope he’ll continue to rule (at least mostly) as a strict constructionist.

Well if the rumours are true, Kennedy hand-picked Kavanaugh to be his replacement; one would think that he was supposed to be; of course that was before this past few weeks.

I don’t know. I feel that Roberts didn’t like the way that Kennedy had become the de facto decision maker for the court. There were four liberals who could be relied on to vote one way and four conservatives who could be relied on to vote the opposite way. So decisions were based on which way Kennedy voted. I can remember reading pieces in which commentators were speculating on how Kennedy would decide and basically just ignoring the other justices.

I think this annoyed Roberts. He’s the Chief Justice and didn’t like seeing himself reduced to irrelevance. So I feel he began casting a few unexpected votes just so people wouldn’t take him for granted. He wanted to show that his vote was important and not just a rubber stamp for the conservative position.

But now Kennedy is gone and I have to wonder if Roberts will still see a need to cast himself as the pivot swing voter. If Gorsuch and Kavanaugh show that they are steady conservatives along with Alito and Thomas, Roberts will no longer have to worry about finding himself in a conservative four-vote minority; he can redefine himself as the leader of a solid conservative majority.

Plus Roberts as the Chief Justice has additional concerns about the Court as an institution and his own legacy.


So, what do you guys think? Is Il Douche more of an originalist, or does he lean to the textualist side of things?

He’d probably rather be remembered as a John Marshall rather than a Warren Burger.

That’s some of the commentary, yes, but to me it reads more like wishful thinking.

A more solid stick to grasp for is that Roberts’ preference for the narrowest, most technical possible grounds to decide a case is a natural predilection, not due to his desire for the politically conservative wing to get Kennedy’s vote. That may, if it’s real, help save us from the avalanche of activist, anti-textual, regressive rulings Collins has reassured us won’t happen anyway. Maybe.

Do you actually think that Roberts thinks like a 12 year old?

The ideological bias of the judges has split on many decisions. Save for the highest profile political cases, its hard to know how any single justice will vote on any single case.

But the partisan ones are and they’re the only ones being referred to.

Yeah, if there were any nominee I wouldn’t trust to be moderate from the bench it’s Kavanaugh. He was somewhat of a cipher before his overtly political, defensive, paranoid, and angry speech at the committee, but now I expect him to make just as much a travesty of the SCOTUS as the CFSG did for the POTUS.

This is extraordinarily tacky and wildly inappropriate.

And they wonder why no conservatives are doing late-night humor.