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The Roberts Court's Surprising Move Leftward

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Chief Justice John Roberts
Chief Justice John Roberts
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The Supreme Court under Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. has been a conservative court. But even conservative courts have liberal terms -- and the current term is leaning left as it enters its final days.

The court has issued liberal decisions in 56 percent of the cases in which it had announced decisions as of June 25, according to the Supreme Court Database, using a widely accepted standard developed by political scientists. If that trend holds, the final percentage could rival the highest since the era of the notably liberal court of the 1950s and 1960s led by Chief Justice Earl Warren. The closest contenders are the previous term and the one that started in 2004 and ended with the announcement of Justice Sandra Day O'Connor's retirement.

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