“What I would like to do is emphasize how the judicial branch is and must be very different.”
Chief Justice John Roberts has spoken for the first time since the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
At the University of Minnesota Law School, Roberts reminded people that the Supreme Court doesn’t speak for agendas or political parties, but for the Constitution.
It amazes me to no end that people forget the justices on the Supreme Court interpret the Constitution and that document has no political leanings or agenda.
Townhall transcribed his remarks:
“As our newest colleague put it, we do not sit on opposite sides of an aisle. We do not caucus in separate rooms. We do not serve one party or one interest. We serve one nation. I want to assure all of you that we will continue to do that to the best of our abilities, whether times are calm or contentious,” Roberts said.
Roberts reminded the audience that politicians speak for the people who elected them but the Court does not. The Court’s soul purpose is to be independent and unpartisan.
“I have great respect for our public officials. After all, they speak for the people, and that commands a certain degree of humility from those of us in the judicial branch who do not,” Roberts explained.
“We do not speak for the people, but we speak for the Constitution. Our role is very clear,” the chief justice said. “I will not criticize the political branches. We do that often enough in our opinions. What I would like to do is emphasize how the judicial branch is and must be very different.”
Roberts reminded people that many of the important decisions from the Supreme Court went the opposite way of what many at the time would have wanted. He said without that independence, we wouldn’t have had Brown v. Board of Education or the 1943 ruling that said public school students do not have to salute the flag.
Another example of independence came in 2011 when the Court received the case about the Westboro Baptist Church protesting military funerals. The vote came out as 8-1 and Roberts wrote the majority opinion. He voted in favor of the church even though it went against his personal beliefs because it is his job to apply the First Amendment:
“The protesters were on the public sidewalk. They had a particular point of view, as offensive as it was, and so I wrote the opinion for the court,” he said. “I think the vote was 8-1 upholding their right to — to protest in that matter. I didn’t like it, but I thought, and as my colleagues did, that was the right answer.”
Roberts believes the few times the Supreme Court made errors when it caved to political pressure like in 1944 when it upheld the internment camps for Japanese-American citizens.
One student asked Roberts about females on the bench and if that “has affected the way he looks at cases.” He responded:
“I understand the argument that it brings a different perspective,” the chief justice said. “On the other hand, it may, but I would say it’s subconscious in the sense that I don’t hear anything and think, ‘Oh, that’s a peculiarly female perspective on the law.’ In terms of the legal work and the presentation, I don’t see a difference. Maybe I’m just not attuned to it, but I think my female colleagues perform pretty much the same way my male colleagues do,” he said.
Remember how I said the Constitution has no political leanings or agendas? It also doesn’t have a gender. The Constitution, especially the Bill of Rights, is as clear cut as anything else written in the world.DONATE
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