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Politics Did John Roberts doom Supreme Court reform with his decisions?

02:34  09 july  2020
02:34  09 july  2020 Source:   thehill.com

Supreme Court Rejects Louisiana Abortion Restrictions

  Supreme Court Rejects Louisiana Abortion Restrictions In the end, Chief Justice Roberts couldn’t go along with a quick reversal of a recent precedent.June Medical Services v. Russo was universally regarded as the best opportunity anti-abortion advocates had to give a green light to states that sought to shut down clinics via Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) laws purported (disingenuously) to protect the health of women seeking abortions. What stood directly in the way, however, was the Supreme Court’s 2016 decision in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, in which it struck down a virtually identical Texas law. But the Court was configured differently four years ago.

"The recent Supreme Court decisions , not only on DACA, Sanctuary Cities, Census, and others, tell you For his part, Roberts is always aware of his own place in history and has famously played the long game. "Sorry Chief Justice John Roberts , but you do indeed have 'Obama judges,' and they

Roberts is willing to walk the walk. He cast the decisive vote to strike down the Trump His commitment to precedent, and his willingness to scrutinize executive branch decisions , are This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.

Chief Justice John Roberts earned the ire of conservatives when, in some surprising recent decisions, he sided with the liberal wing to strike down an abortion law, save immigrants from possible deportation, and extend workplace protections to gay and transgender employees. Yet his moves to the middle will likely assist conservatives in the long run by dooming plans by Democrats to pack the Supreme Court with justices.

a large building: Did John Roberts doom Supreme Court reform with his decisions? © Getty Images Did John Roberts doom Supreme Court reform with his decisions?

Over the last few years, Democrats have started a serious push to change the size or structure of the Supreme Court. The movement for reform was triggered when Senate Republicans blocked Merrick Garland for the seat that was vacated by the death of Antonin Scalia in 2016. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refused to even hold hearings on Garland, and the seat was filled by President Trump, who selected Neil Gorsuch.

Roberts drifts away from conservative bloc, angering Republicans and exciting the left

  Roberts drifts away from conservative bloc, angering Republicans and exciting the left Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts’ role as the court’s new swing vote has become abundantly apparent in recent weeks, as he has been the deciding justice in several high-profile 5-4 decisions in which he sided with the court’s liberal bloc -- providing hope for Democrats and angering Republicans. © Provided by FOX News The court ruled 5-4, with Chief Justice John Roberts siding with the court's liberal justices; Trump 2020 senior legal adviser Jenna Ellis joins the debate.

Chief Justice John Roberts responded to attacks on the Supreme Court and the judiciary from both sides of aisle on Tuesday evening, saying that such criticism " does not affect how we do our work" and he said that the justices will "continue to decide cases" according to the Constitution and laws

The Roberts Court is the time since 2005 during which the Supreme Court of the United States has been led by Chief Justice John Roberts .

As payback for what some call the "stolen seat" on the Supreme Court, Democrats such as Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg, Cory Booker, and Kamala Harris have called for major reform of the Supreme Court. Until last week, it was expected that if Democrats won back the White House and the Senate in the election this year, they would push to add several justices to the Supreme Court, limit the number of years justices could serve, or other overhauls of the structure of the institution.

Roberts may have thrown a wrench in that plan. His seeming change of heart on issues such as abortion, mmigration, and gay and transgender rights will now make it harder for Democrats to make a compelling case for overhauling the Supreme Court. The remarkable thing is that we have seen this all before. Another justice named Roberts once reversed course in several cases to avert efforts to pack the Supreme Court.

Justice Roberts plays the long game

  Justice Roberts plays the long game To state that Chief Justice John Roberts has disappointed conservatives may be an understatement. He provided key votes in decisions rejecting the White House efforts to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and uphold a Louisiana abortion regulation. These votes, Curt Levey lamented in the Washington Post, "mark the death knell for conservative hopes" that the appointment of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court "would finally produce aFirst, aside from these immigration and abortion decisions, the Supreme Court has produced decisions which reliably accord with those goals of conservatives. Consider the decision in the Seila Law case, released the same day as the Louisiana abortion ruling.

How John Roberts controls the Supreme Court . In Roberts ' 29-page written opinion, the chief justice did not rebuff Ross until page 23. Clearing his throat as he continued reading from a prepared text, Roberts said the lower- court evidence revealed a "mismatch" between the decision Ross made

" John Roberts again postures as a Solomon who will save our institutions from political I suspect voters will find his strange views no more compelling than do the principled justices on the Court ." Jordan wrote in a tweet, referring to Roberts ' decision to side with the court 's liberal members in

In 1937, President Roosevelt proposed a plan that would allow him to add up to six new justices. The Supreme Court had struck down a number of his New Deal initiatives, and he had been emboldened after his landslide second term victory. Roosevelt claimed the reform was necessary to help the justices keep up with the caseload, but people knew it was an attack on the very legitimacy of the Supreme Court as an institution.

In a case decided a month after Roosevelt announced his plan to pack the Supreme Court, Justice Owen Roberts, who consistently voted against the New Deal initiatives, reversed course and upheld a New Deal law. Halting any political momentum behind the plan to pack the Supreme Court, this about face has been called "the switch in time that saved nine."

The way Roberts today has voted on abortion, immigration, and gay and transgender rights are remarkable reversals from his votes in past cases. Most starkly, he voted four years ago to uphold abortion restrictions in Texas that were identical to the Louisiana rules he voted to strike down this week. Historians debate whether the change of heart by the earlier Roberts was a response to the plan by Roosevelt, and it seems unlikely that Roberts today was spurred to vote by threats of reform.

Chief Justice Roberts Was Hospitalized After Head Injury in June

  Chief Justice Roberts Was Hospitalized After Head Injury in June Chief Justice John Roberts was hospitalized overnight last month for an injury he suffered to his forehead after falling while walking for exercise, a U.S. Supreme Court spokeswoman said. © Bloomberg John Roberts, chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, arrives ahead of a State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020. Trump will try to move past his impeachment and make a case for his re-election in Tuesday's State of the Union address by taking credit for a strong economy, newly signed trade deals and an immigration crackdown.

Chief Justice John G . Roberts Jr. has found himself at the intersection of the Supreme Court ’s conservative and liberal wings.Credit Doug In response, Chief Justice Roberts has become increasingly more assertive. A week after Justice Kavanaugh took his seat on the court , Chief Justice

In her forthcoming biography of John Roberts , The Chief, journalist Joan Biskupic reports that Roberts initially intended to join his four conservative colleagues And even if the justices do not consciously consider the risk of political backlash, that threat still might unconsciously inform their reasoning.

Roberts is deeply committed, however, to protecting the Supreme Court. During his confirmation hearings, he said the role of the chief justice was to preserve the public legitimacy of the Supreme Court as an important institution of the government. He expressed admiration for Chief Justice Charles Evan Hughes, who steered the Supreme Court through what Roberts called its "high noon showdown" with Roosevelt in 1937.

His own switch in time may also have saved nine. Even with liberal groups announcing plans to highlight the impact of this election on the judiciary, reform is likely to be less of a motivating issue for Democrats in November. It will likely be less attractive to those ultimately elected from swing states. In one important respect, the 1937 and the 2020 switches are vastly different. The first switch marked a leftward shift in the Supreme Court that lasted until the 1980s. This week, the moderation exhibited by Roberts has all but guaranteed a conservative Supreme Court for a generation.

Even if Joe Biden wins the White House, he is likely to replace only the two oldest justices, Stephen Breyer and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, both liberals. There are five conservatives who will endure absent term limits or packing the Supreme Court. Roberts is only 65 years old. The oldest conservative, Clarence Thomas, is a decade younger than Breyer. Gorsuch could serve for 30 more years and still be younger than Ginsburg is now. Liberals can celebrate the victories, but Roberts and the conservatives are now even more likely to remain in the majority for years to come.

Kent Greenfield is a law professor and scholar at Boston College. Adam Winkler is a law professor at the University of California in Los Angeles.

The Political Genius of John Roberts .
The chief justice stood up to Trump, placated Democrats, and scored points for judicial supremacy.This was evident not just in his judicial writing. It was clear when he punched back at Trump’s claims that there were “Trump judges and Obama judges” and again when he defended judges (including Merrick Garland) in his annual state of the judiciary report this past winter. It was also why we didn’t think Roberts would rush to intervene dramatically in the impeachment process. Whereas almost everyone in Trump’s ambit has proved to be almost fanatically transactional in their dealings with the president, credit Roberts with being principled.

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