THE NEW YORK TIMES -- Aaron Belkin is director of Take Back the Court and a professor of Political Science at San Francisco State University. Sean McElwee is director of research and polling at Take Back the Court and co-founder of Data for Progress.
“With the court on the precipice of a dangerous lurch rightward, polling data indicate that Democrats have a positive view of Chief Justice John Roberts, who has expressed regard for precedent and concern for the court’s legitimacy, encouraging a view that he will step in to prevent partisan excess,” Belkin and McElwee write. “Yet history suggests that Democrats have much to fear. The chief justice is neither a swing vote among his four liberal and four conservative justices, nor a moderate. Expect him to land time and again with the conservatives.
“During his 2005 confirmation hearing, Chief Justice Roberts affirmed his ‘respect for precedent, even-handedness, predictability, stability.’ But once on the bench, he compiled a voting record that is among the most partisan of any justice in the modern era when it comes to cases overturning precedent, according to our analysis.”