New Supreme Court term, starting Monday, could end Chief Justice Roberts’ dominant role

New Supreme Court term, starting Monday, could end Chief Justice Roberts’ dominant role

Chief Justice John Roberts leaves the Capitol after a session of the Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump on WASHINGTON — A short-handed Supreme Court — driven from its courtroom by the pandemic, grieving over the loss of a colleague and awaiting the outcome of a divisive confirmation battle — will return to the virtual bench Monday to start a term that will present Chief Justice John Roberts with a daunting test. “The chief’s leadership of the court, which just a few weeks ago appeared to be at its zenith, is now in peril,” said Richard Lazarus, a law professor at Harvard who has taught courses on the Supreme Court with Roberts. “An addition of yet another very conservative justice could quickly eliminate the chief’s ability to steer the court toward moderation.” The court will again hear arguments by telephone, starting with a timely case on the role of partisanship in judging, a subject that will also figure in Senate hearings on the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett, which are scheduled to start a week from Monday. President Donald Trump and Senate Republicans have been working hard to speed her path to the seat left vacant by the death last month of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. If Barrett is confirmed before Election Day, she is expected to participate in the two biggest arguments on the docket so far: the latest challenge to the Affordable Care Act and a clash between claims of religious freedom and […]

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