It was a bad sum for a week in June, the last month of the annual session. In addition, two of the three were unanimous and no one made big headlines.
But the term will not end this way. And much of the importance of this important session lies on Robert's shoulders.
This is the first time in Robert's 14 years as top justice that he is likely to be the deciding vote on several final tense cases – a total of 24 in the next two weeks. Roberts landed in the court's ideological center last year when justice Anthony Kennedy retired after three decades. And since Roberts has long been to the right of centrist conservative Kennedy, the court is based on making a sharp conservative turn.
When near-court observers have predicted that for nearly a year, such a prediction is of a different magnitude coming from a justice that has witnessed the first-hand court's private votes in its closed conference room. Ginsburg knows where the majority are heading.
Two of the politically charged cases awaiting dissolution, testing 2020 census-specific issues and partisan gerrymanders may lead to decisions that favor the interests of the Republican parties and reinforce the character of the partisan of a court consisting of five GOP appointed and four democratic.
Being a signal Roberts ̵
"People need to know we're not doing politics," he said in a February appearance at Belmont University in Nashville. "They need to know that we are doing something different, that we apply the law."
Conflicts over such interpretations of the law, and the nation's capital driving environment, are undoubtedly on long-standing disagreements behind the scenes.
Predictions at this stage may be ugly but based on oral arguments and other signs from the justice, the answer to all three questions may be yes. It is certain that the nation is on its way to more 5-4 decisions. It is also likely that the 64-year-old chief who is concerned about the chief's place in these fleeting times will try to neutralize political appearance.
June is always difficult as the justice ends the views in the most difficult cases and determines which ongoing appeals should be planned for arguments in the coming term, beginning in October.
What is read in Ginsburg's speech? Whether she's imagined it, Ginsburg has the reputation of releasing hit tips outside the courtroom.
In mid-June 2012, she said in a speech that "the term has been more than usual taxation". It was just before a narrow majority of justice, with Roberts deciding the decisive vote, maintained the affordable law of care based on the surprising justification of the Congress's fiscal power.