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Focus on Chief Justice as Supreme Court Hears Immigration Challenge

Posted by Steve Schram on April 18, 2016 at 10:34 AM

Originally published on April 17, 2016 on The New York Times by Adam Liptak.

WASHINGTON — Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. twice voted to save President Obama’s health care law, infuriating his usual allies on the right. Now, conservatives are nervous that the chief justice will disappoint them again in a challenge to another major Obama initiative, this one on immigration.

The case, to be argued on Monday at the Supreme Court, presents fundamental questions about executive power against the backdrop of a wrenching national debate over Mr. Obama’s plan to spare millions of immigrants from deportation. But Chief Justice Roberts’s record suggests that he may avoid taking a position on such a divisive and partisan issue, focusing instead on the more technical question of whether the states challenging the Obama administration’s immigration plan have suffered the sort of direct and concrete injury that gives them standing to sue.

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