Chief Justice Roberts tries to defend SCOTUS and completely misses the point

By TheCriticalMind | 11 September 2022
Daily Kos

(Photo: Trump White House Archived / Flickr / Public Domain)

When George W. Bush appointed John Roberts as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court in 2005, the institution had taken a hit for putting its thumb on the scale in throwing the 2000 election. Only 40% of Americans viewed the Court favorably. Roberts, ever the institutionalist, seemed determined to right the ship. He failed. And by June 2022, the Court’s approval rating had sunk to an all-time low of 25%.

What makes this more remarkable is that only 39% of Republicans approve of the Court despite it giving them what they were supposed to want, the overturning of Roe. Being sensate, Roberts noticed the opprobrium with which most Americans view the Court and has risen to defend it.

In his first public appearance since the Dobbs debacle, Roberts said the Court’s role should not be called into question just because people disagree with its decisions. He added he was concerned that some critics of the Court’s controversial promoncements have questioned its legitimacy.

“If the court doesn’t retain its legitimate function of interpreting the constitution, I’m not sure who would take up that mantle. You don’t want the political branches telling you what the law is, and you don’t want public opinion to be the guide about what the appropriate decision is.”

But here, Roberts drops the plot. After every consequential decision the Court makes, it has its critics. Conservatives reviled the 1950s/1960s Warren Court for dismantling the racist state they had so lovingly constructed. By the 1970s, they had determined to fight back. And, as we know, they have proved successful. The Court is now divided 6-3, with the conservative Justices in the majority.

Many Americans are incensed that the Court told women they had no right to choose – and that their bodies belonged to male politicians. And their anger was increased by the specious reasoning in Alito’s opinion. And further inflamed by Clarence Thomas’s musings on gay marriage and contraception.

But the real cause of the public’s disgust at the institution is that four of the current Justices — maybe five — lied at their confirmation hearings.

Revulsion at conservative mendacity was magnified by the process which created the majority. Then Senate Majority leader, Mitch McConnell, made up a ‘rule’ out of whole cloth that a President could not nominate a candidate in an election year. And Obama’s pick, Merrick Garland, was left twisting in the wind. Where were the “constitutional originalists” then? Nowhere.

Compounding the cynicism was the complete volte-face by McConnell when Amy Coney Bryant was appointed a week before the 2020 election. Roberts may plead for people to respect the Court — but most Americans can smell a turd.

There is more. Credible accusations that Justice Kavanaugh is a sexual abuser were summarily dismissed, after a cursory check, in the rush to confirm him. He may well have been hung-over at his confirmation hearings as he cried, whined, and yelled red-faced in anger at the injustice of it all — in a manner that caused many to think that the lady doth protest too much.

And questions as to how he paid off his credit cards and mortgage remain unanswered.

Then there is Clarence Thomas. This mostly silent, malevolent presence on the court has been waging his campaign against civil liberties since he survived Anita Hill’s testimony that he was a sexual predator with a penchant for porn. Americans watched the televised proceedings in horror as Senators asked Hill about large-breasted women, a porn star named Long Dong Silver, and pubic hair on a Coke can.

The dismissive behavior of an all-white, all-male panel demeaning a Black woman was enabled by then-Senator Joe Biden who was its Chair. Thirty years later, his failure haunts America. Although, he has had the decency to apologize to Hill.

Now this self-confessed angry man — he wrote about his perpetual grievance at the system in his book “My Grandfather’s Son” — is making plain his disdain for judicial evenhandedness by so far refusing to recuse himself from potential cases involving the 2020 election while his wife has lobbied federal and state officials to embrace authoritarianism and overturn a legitimate result.

Compounding the PR blow to the Court is the reaction of some state legislatures to Roe’s demise. There is a fierce contest to see who could enact the most sadistic laws. Misogynists were tumescent with joy at the thought of girls giving birth to their father’s grandchild or sharing their child’s custody with their rapist.

The poster child for this inhumanity was the 10-year-old Ohioan girl who had to trek to Indiana to abort the product of a violent crime. In four days, Indiana itself will slam the door on elective abortions, Although, because it will still permit abortions to the victims of rape and incest, in case of fetal abnormalities, and to preserve the health and life of the mother for up to ten weeks after conception, it must be considered by the anti-abortion absolutists to be teetering on the brink of liberalism.

Roberts asks Americans to respect an institution one political party has pissed on. Sorry, John, that ship has sailed.

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