In a series of striking moves on immigration, LGBTQ rights and
Last week, the 65-year-old appointee of Republican President George W. Bush similarly cast the pivotal fifth vote to reject the Trump administration’s elimination of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, the Obama-era initiative that protects young undocumented immigrants. He also voted to extend US anti-bias law to gay, lesbian and transgender workers.
These recent actions reflect his broader choice, in the tumultuous time of coronavirus and racial strife under the presidency of Donald Trump this election year, to put the institutional integrity of the Supreme Court over personal ideology.
Roberts, whose Washington career traces to the Reagan administration in the 1980s, has always held conservative instincts and social values. In very rare instances has he broken from those moorings.
Overall, he has produced conservative rulings, including to curtail the reach of the Voting Rights Act, making it harder to prevent arguably discriminatory election procedures before they took effect. He joined the bare five-justice majorities that produced the 2010 Citizens United decision lifting limits on corporate and union money in elections and the 2008 decision declaring an individual Second Amendment right to bear arms.
For years the one exception to his pattern on the right wing was his 2012 decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare, famously regarding the health care law’s individual insurance requirement a tax.
After that vote, Roberts faced right-wing wrath for joining the court’s liberals to uphold the law. Last week several