Today Chief Justice Roberts wrote separately in connection with the Supreme Court decision not to hear the North Carolina voting case, underlining the procedural irregularities of the case and noting it was not a decision on the merits.
The Chief did a similar thing a few months ago in turning down the Texas voter id case. He made it clear that the rejection was all about the fact that the Texas case was not fully final, and not about the merits.
What’s this all about? I think the Chief is trying to signal to states to keep litigating these cases, and that he remains a great skeptic of the voting rights act and race-based remedies for voting. Whether or not the Chief Justice “evolves” on other issues if and when he becomes the new swing Justice, I don’t expect to see him evolving on voting rights. That’s one of his signature issues. Anyone thinking otherwise is engaged in wishful thinking.