Judicial advocacy group demands to know why it took 2 weeks for the public to learn that Chief Justice Roberts suffered a head injury
On Tuesday evening, July 7, the news broke that U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts had been hospitalized because of a head injury. But the injury didn’t occur in July — it occurred on June 21, when the 65-year-old Roberts fell and hit his head. And writer Matt Naham, in Law & Crime, reports that the judicial advocacy group Fix the Court wants to know why it took more than two weeks for the public to find out about the chief justice’s injury.
Gabe Roth, Fix the Court’s executive director, told Law & Crime, “The Court is increasingly being drawn into the politics of the day; so, anything it does or doesn’t do that may erode the public’s trust is concerning. Given this dynamic, the chief justice shouldn’t hide the fact he cracked his head open.”
The U.S. Supreme Court, according to Roth, needs to be much more transparent and up front when its chief justice suffers that type of injury.
“The ‘need to inform the public’ is more substantial than Roberts pronounces,” Roth told Law & Crime. “Regular health disclosures would give us faith that our nation’s top jurists are capable of handling the rigors of their jobs, and they may even help the justices themselves reflect on their abilities to continue in their positions. I’m glad Roberts is OK, but based on the way this came out, amid the Court’s consistent lack of transparency, I’m appalled.”
The Washington Post has confirmed the details of Roberts’ injury. Kathleen Arberg, a Supreme Court spokesperson, told the Post, that the chief justice was “treated at a hospital on June 21 for an injury to his forehead sustained in a fall while walking for exercise near his home.”
Roth notes that Roberts has had health issues in the past and suffered seizures in 1993 and 2007.
The conservative Roberts joined the U.S. Supreme Court in 2005, when he was nominated by President George W. Bush. At first, Bush nominated Roberts as a replacement for Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, a Ronald Reagan appointee who had announced her retirement. But when Chief Justice William Rehnquist died, Bush instead nominated Roberts for Supreme Court chief justice. And Bush nominated Samuel Alito to fill the seat O’Connor was vacating.