John Roberts, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, defended the court from criticisms of its authority.
Roberts noted that the nation’s highest court has always dealt with contentious matters and made some decisions that elicited strong reactions from the public while addressing jurists at the 10th Circuit Bench and Bar Convention in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Roberts, however, fought back against recent criticisms of the court’s authority, claiming that having a different viewpoint on a hot-button topic does not undermine the court’s authority.
Roberts told conference attendees, according to the New York Post, “The court has always resolved contentious issues and rulings always have been subject to severe criticism and that is quite proper.” However, I do not see how opposing views and the integrity of the Supreme Court are related.
The Washington Post said that he continued, “Yes, all of our opinions are vulnerable to critique.” In fact, our members are excellent at occasionally critiquing certain viewpoints. However, questioning the validity of the court should not be done only because some people disagree with that opinion.
Roberts emphasized that the Supreme Court’s unique function is to interpret the law without taking political stances or considerations into account. In his words, “that responsibility doesn’t change just because people disagree with this opinion or that opinion or with a specific form of jurisprudence.”
Earlier this year, the Supreme Court was in session, and during that time it heard a number of contentious cases and rendered a number of contentious rulings. In the case of New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. Bruen, the court decided that state-level regulations on concealed weapons are unconstitutional. Later, in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Group, the court ruled that Roe v. Wade should be overturned and that the states should once again have control over abortion. Finally, the court ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency lacks the authority to set emissions caps
Democrats and left-leaning groups denounced the court as “extreme,” said that the court “lit a fire” to its legitimacy, and demanded that it be modified or that more justices be appointed to the bench in response to those three decisions, particularly the Dobbs decision.
Roberts continued, warning about the perils of allowing politics into the judiciary. According to him, “I’m not sure who would take up that mantle if the court doesn’t preserve its rightful job of interpreting the constitution,” according to the Associated Press. You don’t want the government telling you what the law is, and you don’t want the general population deciding what the right course of action is.
Following Vice President Kamala Harris’ criticism of the Supreme Court’s authority in response to the Court’s ruling in Dobbs, Roberts made her remarks.
In a Friday segment of “Meet the Press” on NBC News, Harris said to Chuck Todd, “I think this is an activist court. Abortion was a legally recognized right for almost 50 years… And this court swiftly removed that constitutional freedom; as a result, our country is suffering. That makes me very concerned about the general integrity of the court.”