The Supreme Court under Chief Justice John Roberts (left) has a consistent record of conservative judicial activism, as an analysis by Adam Liptak of the New York Times makes clear:
The centerpiece of the last term was, of course, the 5-to-4 decision in Citizens United, allowing unlimited corporate spending in elections...
...The Citizens United decision contained not a trace of minimalism, and it showed great solicitude to the interests of corporations.
“They’re fearless,” Lisa S. Blatt, who served in the solicitor general’s office for 13 years before joining Arnold & Porter last year, said of the justices in the majority. “This is a business court. Now it’s the era of the corporation and the interests of business.”
...The court continued its push to broaden Second Amendment Rights, ruling on Monday that the amendment’s protections apply to state and local gun control laws as well as to federal law. [The NYT had an excellent editorial, "The Court: Ignoring the Reality of Guns."]
And the justices further limited the rights of criminal defendants. Last term, the court narrowed earlier decisions barring the use of evidence obtained through police misconduct.
Elana Kagan, President Obama's nominee, though not a conservative, will probably shift the court incrementally to the right, since she is not as liberal as the retiring Justice John Paul Stevens. The most disturbing part of Liptak's analysis is the following:
That trend, lawyers and legal scholars said, may well threaten recent legislation overhauling financial regulations and the health care system when challenges to them reach the court.
No major piece of legislation under Obama, then, is necessarily settled given the current Supreme Court. This court, in fact, makes it imperative that Obama be reelected. Reversing the court's rightward drift, which would only continue under a Republican administration, is the most important domestic consideration of the next six years.