Who Is John Roberts?

The President may get the headlines, but Chief Justice of the Supreme Court John Roberts is arguably the most powerful person in the United States.

Are issues like a woman's right to choose, climate change, gun control, and civil rights important to you?

If you answered yes to one or more, know this: the Supreme Court defines the law of the land in our democracy, meaning that it determines whether women have the right to end a pregnancy, how carbon emissions may be regulated, if handguns may be permitted in public spaces, and whether or not corporations may pour limitless amounts of money into politics (spoiler alert: that already happened in Citizens United). Nine lawyers who are appointed for life weigh questions that impact every aspect of our lives. Sounds pretty democratic, right?    

Many questions the Court takes up are obscure, arcane, or abstract. But following the contentious confirmation of Justice Brett Kavanaugh, there are now four justices who reliably vote one way on controversial issues, and four who reliably vote the other way. With Kavanaugh on the bench, Chief Justice John Roberts wields the decisive swing vote, moving the Court firmly and appreciably to the right for the forseeable future, a shift which has major implications for all of us.

Presidents might get the press, but for the real deal on the power behind the throne, join Sean Morrow for the story of the man in the black robe. 


"Who Is?," an original podcast hosted by NowThis correspondent Sean Morrow, explores the stories of well-known, powerful politicians in the United States and beyond.

Over the course of sixteen episodes, Season One focused on top leaders in Washington, Trump’s inner circle, the field of presidential hopefuls, and major political donors. The good, the bad, and the ugly.

Next up? Season Two.  

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