Chief Justice John Roberts Defends Legitimacy Of Court

by | Sep 10, 2022 | Politics

DENVER (AP) — Chief Justice John Roberts defended the authority of the Supreme Court to interpret the Constitution, saying its role should not be called into question just because people disagree with its decisions.When asked to reflect on the last year at the court in his first public appearance since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, Roberts said Friday he was concerned that lately some critics of the court’s controversial decisions have questioned the legitimacy of the court, which he said was a mistake. He did not mention any specific cases or critics by name.Advertisement“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,” Roberts said while being interviewed by two judges from the Denver-based 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals at its conference in Colorado Springs.Roberts described the last year as an unusual and difficult one, pointing to the public not be allowed inside the court, closed in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic, as one hardship. He also said it was “gut wrenching” to drive into the Supreme Court that was surrounded by barricades every day.The barriers were installed in May when protests erupted outside the court and outside the homes of some Supreme Court justices after there was an unprecedented leak of a draft opinion indicating the justices were planning to overturn Roe v. Wade, which provided women constitutional protections for abortion for nearly 50 years. The barriers are gone and the public will be allowed back inside when the court’s new session begins in October but an investigation ordered by Roberts into the leak continues.Speaking at the same conference Thursday, Justice Neil Gorsuch said it is “terribly important” to identify the leaker and said he is expecting a report on the progress of the investigation, “I hope soon.”AdvertisementGorsuch condemned the leak, as have other justices who have addressed it publicly.“Improper efforts to influence judicial decision-making, from whatever side, from whomever, are a threat to the judicial decision-making process,” Gorsuch said. Reporters from The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg attended the talk.The leaked draft was largely incorporated into Justice Samuel Alito’s final opinion in June that overturned Roe v. Wade in a case upholding Mississippi’s law banning abortion after 15 weeks. The ruling paved the way for severe abortion restr …

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