WASHINGTON, Oct. 1 — If Year 1 was the transition for the new Roberts court, Year 2 is likely to be the test.
During the first term under the leadership of Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., the justices were able to find common ground with some regularity by agreeing not to decide much. By the time the term ended in late June, the extent to which the members of the newly configured court were prepared to confront either precedent or one another remained unclear.
Chances are high that the new term, which begins on Monday, will be different. The cases that the court has agreed to decide — 38 so far — offer few off-ramps, requiring instead that the justices proceed to rulings that will define the new court in both substance and style.