Roberts’ grip slips as SCOTUS curbs voting rights

Chief Justice John Roberts joined the three liberal justices in dissent as the U.S. Supreme Court allowed a Republican-drawn Alabama congressional map. The vote shows how the chief justice's influence on the court may be waning.

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National News

February 9, 2022 - 9:23 AM

Members of the Supreme Court pose for a group photo at the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., on April 23, 2021. Seated from left: Associate Justice Samuel Alito, Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, Chief Justice John Roberts, Associate Justice Stephen Breyer and Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor. Standing from left: Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh, Associate Justice Elena Kagan, Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch and Associate Justice Amy Coney Barrett. Photo by (Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty Images/TNS)

WASHINGTON — Chief Justice John Roberts was once in the vanguard as the U.S. Supreme Court rolled back the Voting Rights Act. But as his more conservative colleagues showed this week in restoring a Republican-drawn Alabama congressional map, Roberts is no longer in control.

Roberts joined the three liberal justices in dissent as the court blocked a lower court ruling that said the landmark 1965 law required Alabama to have a second heavily Black district.

It’s the latest order from a court whose bold reshaping of the law is leaving its chief justice on an island, often backing his fellow Republican appointees on their general direction but trying unsuccessfully to slow them down. Roberts was similarly in dissent last year when the same five-justice majority let Texas’ six-week abortion ban take effect.

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