FILE - In this Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2018 file photo, U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts listens as President Donald Trump delivers his first State of the Union address in the House chamber of the U.S. Capitol to a joint session of Congress Tuesday in Washington. The retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy means that the conservative Roberts probably will be the justice closest to the court’s four liberals, allowing Roberts to control where the court comes down in some of its most contentious cases. (Win McNamee/Pool via AP)

Supreme Court's Roberts is the new man at the 'center'

June 30, 2018 - 1:09 am

WASHINGTON (AP) — Chief Justice John Roberts is the Supreme Court's new man in the middle. It's just that the middle may have moved well to the right.

The retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy means Roberts probably will be the conservative justice closest to the court's four liberals, allowing him to control where it comes down in some of its most contentious cases.

Kennedy played a similar role for many years — his votes on gay rights, abortion, the death penalty, the environment, voting rights and affirmative action basically determined the outcome of cases on a divided court.

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