Chief Justice: Harder deciding to erect a fence around SCOTUS than deciding to rescind abortion rights
Chief Justice John Roberts says it was harder for him to decide to have a fence erected around the U.S. Supreme Court ahead of the ruling that would reverse the 49-year old Roe v. Wade decision than it was to decide that case, which stripped women of their constitutional right to abortion.
The embattled Chief Justice told the 100-year old American Law Institute, which honored him with a prestigious award at their annual meeting Tuesday night, that erecting the fence was actually the hardest decision he’s ever had to make in his nearly two decades as head of the nation’s highest court.
“I’m asked what was the hardest thing? What was the hardest decision I had to make in 18 years? Was it this First Amendment case? Was it that death penalty case? Was it some major separation of powers case? None of those. The hardest decision I had to make was whether to erect fences and barricades around the Supreme Court. I had no choice but to go ahead and do it,” Roberts declared.
As The Washington Post noted, those fences and barricades erected around the Supreme Court were “in preparation for protests of the court’s decision that overturned the constitutional right to abortion the court had established nearly 50 years earlier in Roe v. Wade. The fences remained for months.”
Unlike the fences and barricades, the decision not only still stands, it has led to total or partial abortion bans in at least 20 states, with more being debated in other states, and some Republicans pushing for a nationwide abortion ban.
Chief Justice Roberts is leading a Supreme Court under fire on several fronts, which has led to historically low approval ratings. In September, just months after the decision to allow states to ban abortion, Gallup found that just “47% trust the judicial branch,” and noted the “previous low was 53%.”
It also found that the Court’s 40% job approval “is tied for record low,” and 42% say the Supreme Court is too conservative, a record-high.
Wednesday morning, CNN reported “Americans’ approval of the Supreme Court has fallen since the start of the year, according to a new poll released Wednesday, with 41% of the country saying it approves of the nine justices amid a barrage of media reports and watchdog complaints concerning ethics and transparency at the nation’s highest court.”
Justice Roberts has refused to implement at his Supreme Court the same ethical standards every federal judge, except the nine justices, are required to observe. He has also refused to take significant action against several justices who appear to be in violation of certain ethics reporting requirements, not to mention the appearance, some say, of corruption.
And while he gave lip-service to ethical issues Tuesday evening in his 15-minute remarks, the concerns surrounding the court’s corruption remain, as these headlines show: “A Rare Inside Look at Our Corrupt Supreme Court.” “The US supreme court’s alleged ethics issues are worse than you probably realize.” “The Stench of Corruption Is Growing Stronger Around the Supreme Court.” “Why the Supreme Court Is Blind to Its Own Corruption.”
Watch a short clip of the Chief Justice’s remarks below or at this link.
\u201c"I am committed to making certain we as a court adhere to highest standards of conduct...I am confident there are ways to do that that are consistent with our status as independent branch of government under Constitution's separation of powers"\n- #SCOTUS Chief Roberts @AmLawInst\u201d— Howard Mortman (@Howard Mortman) 1684921189
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