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SCOTUS: Judging the '09 term

"Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. emerged as a canny strategist at the Supreme Court this term, laying the groundwork for bold changes that could take the court to the right even as the recent elections moved the nation to the left," the New York Times writes. "The court took mainly incremental steps in major cases concerning voting rights, employment discrimination, criminal procedure and campaign finance. But the chief justice's fingerprints were on all of them, and he left clues that the court is only one decision away from fundamental change in many areas of the law. Whether he will succeed depends on Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, the court's swing vote. And there is reason to think that the chief justice has found a reliable ally when it counts."

"The Supreme Court will have a new look -- and perhaps a new member -- but the same right-of-center tilt when the justices return in late summer to deal with unfinished business about money in campaigns," AP writes. "Some justices will change seats with the retirement of Justice David Souter, with the more senior justices closer to the center of the bench. But the conservatives still should be able to muster majorities in the areas of civil rights and campaign cash."