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U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts said Wednesday that people shouldn't think the high court's justices make decisions in terms of a liberal or conservative agenda.

Roberts told a crowd of nearly 4,800 people at Rice University in Houston that many of the court's close votes have had nothing to do with politics.

"We look at these cases and resolve them ... not in terms of a particular liberal or conservative agenda," he said. "It's just easier for reporters to say that justice is liberal and that justice is conservative."

From reading some of the court's opinions, Roberts added, people may think that justices are "at each other's throats." But he said all the justices are "extremely close."

Roberts, taking a break from the high court's current term in Washington, talked in general about his work leading the nation's highest court. But he didn't discuss some of the court's more recent high-profile cases — including voting to uphold much of President Barack Obama's health care overhaul.

Roberts, who was appointed by President George W. Bush, made headlines when he voted with the liberal justices in that 5-4 landmark decision. After that ruling, Roberts became the focus of criticism from some of the nation's leading conservatives while liberals applauded his statesmanship.


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