John Roberts

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U.S. Supreme Court

Executive Discretion and Judicial Deference After the Census Case: The Chief Justice’s Tightrope

Chief Justice John Roberts is a complex and subtly innovative jurist. The Supreme Court’s census decision revealed his skills, particularly seen against the backdrop of the gerrymandering case decided the same day. His ruling against the executive may actually strengthen deference to executive discretion when wielded by a future normal presidency, but in his decisive opinion (joined in full by no other justice), Roberts also refined a neglected counterdeference tool—pretext analysis.

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