Friday, June 28, 2019

Justice Roberts Follows Constitution And the Right Convulses

The relevant portion of the U.S. Constitution (Article 1, Section 2) that mandates census every ten (10) years reads in relevant part as follows:

Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons.

Note, there is NO reference to citizenship.  Only a reference to "free persons" and then to "all other persons."  Yet, when Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the Supreme Court opinion rejecting the Trump/Pence regime's disingenuous effort to add a citizenship question on the 2020 national census, you would have thought he committed some combination of blasphemy and treason to listen to some on the political right.  A piece in Politico looks at this reaction by this group which the media continues to false label as "conservatives."  Here are excerpts:

Chief Justice John Roberts just keeps on breaking conservatives’ hearts. On two consecutive days this week, Roberts sided with the court’s liberal wing to deliver 5-4 rulings that deeply disappointed right-leaning lawyers and pundits who had been counting on near-certain victory from a court now stocked with a pair of Trump-appointed justices handpicked by conservative legal activists.
On Thursday, Roberts stunned many court watchers by invalidating a Trump administration decision to add a question on citizenship to the 2020 census.
Adding to the sting is the fact that the chief justice wasn’t just along for the ride on the closely watched ruling: He penned the majority opinion, which essentially accused Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross of lying about his reasons for seeking to add the question on citizenship.
A day earlier, Roberts was the sole GOP appointee to side with the liberal wing in a case many legal conservatives were hoping would deal a major blow to the much-loathed administrative state by overturning decades of precedent allowing federal agencies wide leeway to interpret their own regulations.
Among some conservatives close to Trump, the sense of anger and betrayal was palpable, with some on the right suffering painful flashbacks to Roberts’ 2012 decision to join with the court’s Democratic appointees and uphold Obamacare’s individual mandate even as all of his Republican-appointed colleagues dissented. The anger seemed especially acute with possible abortion-related cases on the horizon for the next term.
There is a degree of selective outrage at Roberts. Trump’s newest nominee to the court, Justice Neil Gorsuch, sided with liberals in a series of 5-4, late-term decisions this year, but they were less high-profile. As Gorsuch ruled in favor of criminal defendants — including a child pornography convict — in a pair of cases related to sentencing, there was no outcry from the right that Trump’s pick was abandoning his backers.
Still, Roberts’ tendency to side with liberals in some cases embraced by many Republican activists seems to grate on many conservative lawyers, including some who helped lead the fight to confirm him.
Levey said the political polarization in the country may be prodding Roberts to go further than he otherwise would in trying to ensure that the court is viewed as moderate and not being buffeted by the political winds. Last November, when President Donald Trump made derisive comments about “Obama judges,” Roberts shot back with a statement declaring “We do not have Obama judges or Trump judges, Bush judges or Clinton judges. ... What we have is an extraordinary group of dedicated judges doing their level best to do equal right to those appearing before them.”
“At the end of the day, Roberts wants the court to be well-respected,” Levey said, calling the chief justice “a compromiser and people pleaser.”
“I think the hysteria on the left about an ‘arch conservative’ court is having an effect,” the legal activist said. “At the end of the day, [Roberts] wants the court to be well respected and a highly divided nation is a threat to the legitimacy of the court because with every decision the half the public is convinced the court is acting for political reasons.”

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