John Roberts the new 'swing' justice? With Kennedy out, chief poised to wield court clout

With Justice Anthony Kennedy retiring, the man President Trump once called an "absolute disaster" potentially is poised to inherit the mantle of "swing" justice – and solidify his power on the Supreme Court. 

Whether Chief Justice John Roberts can, or wants to, fill that vacuum is the big question in judicial circles right now.

"If the president, as everyone expects, nominates a conservative to fill Justice Kennedy's seat, the spotlight will shift to the chief justice, who will be viewed, rightly or wrongly, as the swing justice," said Thomas Dupree, a former top Bush Justice Department official. "In many ways, I think this would be a role the chief justice would welcome. He's played this role before.”