As the final arbiter on the rule of law, The Supreme Court has always been a part of presidential campaigns to some extent. But this time around the issue has been catapulted to front and center.
For the last eight years one individual has played a pivotal role in some of the most significant societal-altering decisions that have come down from the High Court. That lone figure is Chief Justice John Roberts.
The past term is one in which Justice Roberts seems to have shed any trace of conservative jurisprudence. But for a while now he has regularly sided with leftists members of the High Court. Evidently, Vice President Mike Pence felt the need to speak out on the subject.
“Look, we have great respect for the institution of the Supreme Court of the United States,” the vice president recently told David Brody of the Christian Broadcasting Network. He then had the guts to say something out loud that a whole lot of people had been feeling.
“… Chief Justice John Roberts has been a disappointment to conservatives — whether it be the Obamacare decision, or whether it be a spate of recent decisions all the way through Calvary Chapel,” Vice President Pence said.
With the Supreme Court firmly on the electoral radar, it seems as though it is 2016 all over again. But now it appears as if there’s even more at stake for the country.
In June of 2020, President Donald Trump pledged to unveil a new list of potential justices ahead of November’s general election.
“He did that [an unveiling] in 2016. He kept his word,” Vice President Pence said of President Trump’s list. “He’s going to do that in the fall of 2020, and in the next four years, he’ll keep his word and appoint more principled conservatives to our courts.”
It goes without saying that the vice president’s criticism of the chief justice is completely warranted. All anyone has to do is look at the series of appalling rulings that have piled up at the feet of Justice Roberts. Over and over again he has chosen to side with left-leaning Democrat appointees to the High Court.
Curiously, Justice Roberts’s rogue tendencies began to surface in 2012. He facilitated the High Court’s upholding of Obamacare when, as the swing vote and writer for the majority, he penned an opinion using a contorted rationale that was almost totally devoid of legal reasoning.
He framed the clearly unconstitutional individual mandate as a “tax” even though the Obama administration had never even argued that the mandate was a tax.
In 2019 Justice Roberts voted with the far-left justices to reject a restriction on the overly powerful federal bureaucracy. This enabled federal agencies to continue to interpret their own regulations.
In another case, for no apparent legal reason Justice Roberts again joined with liberal justices, this time to invalidate a 2020 census citizenship question.
In the most recent term, Justice Roberts appears to have put the pedal to the metal in his judicial activism. He voted with left-leaning justices in adding the terms “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” to the 1964 Civil Rights Act’s workforce protections.
The chief justice also went renegade when he struck down President Trump’s executive order that canceled a previous Obama administration executive order that was illegal. This ended up allowing the program called the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA) to continue.
Justice Roberts also joined the leftist justices in preventing the citizens of Louisiana from implementing a duly passed law that would have required physicians performing abortions to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals. He claimed that he really didn’t want to vote with the liberals on this one. His excuse, in effect, was that precedent made him do it.
Four years ago Justice Roberts dissented from the majority ruling in a case that had similar facts. In his current concurring opinion, he writes, “I joined the dissent in Whole Woman’s Health and continue to believe that the case was wrongly decided.”
In a case that may come to haunt Justice Roberts in the future, he joined with the far-left justices in rejecting a Nevada church’s request to block the state’s COVID cap on church attendees. The disregard that was on display with respect to the Constitution was obvious to legal scholars as well as everyday folks.
Justice Neil Gorsuch was able to refute the legal gymnastics of the majority with a single paragraph dissent.
“…the First Amendment prohibits such obvious discrimination against the exercise of religion. The world we inhabit today, with a pandemic upon us, poses unusual challenges. But there is no world in which the Constitution permits Nevada to favor Caesars Palace over Calvary Chapel,” Justice Gorsuch wrote.
Reacting to the decision, Texas Senator Ted Cruz tweeted, “John Roberts has abandoned his oath. But, on the upside, maybe Nevada churches should set up craps tables? Then they could open?”
Many court watchers have speculated about what could be motivating Justice Roberts to move so far leftward.
The truth is it doesn’t really matter.
With the track record that he has laid down, it is clear that he is willing to play the role of unelected legislator for cases that have a huge impact on society, cases involving the power of the administrative state, the right to life, and the right of free religious expression.
As the vice president stated, these shameful extrajudicial decisions “are a reminder of just how important this [November 2020] election is for the future of the Supreme Court.”
This is especially true since Justice Roberts can’t be voted out of office. The only practical way his now-established rogue ruling pattern can be offset is to elect a president who will appoint justices that revere the Constitution and adhere to it.
That would be President Donald J.Trump.