Tuesday, July 30, 2013

In Defense of Chief Justice Roberts

John Roberts. Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court? Or… Calculating agent of DC elitism/adversary to the common man?

Last week, Roberts the conspirator was given another face - as a shield helping an overreaching executive evade necessary scrutiny. In the same vein, writing in The New York Times a few weeks ago, Adam Liptak provided a similar analysis - the Chief Justice is a legal schemer; every vote fixing the quiet foundation for future conservative legal victories. These days, from the left, the right and the government establishment, Roberts is now regularly decried as a legal Machiavelli. A quiet malevolent that mustn't be trusted. But let’s be clear, this is simple slander; widespread, relentless and false. When one considers the tone of abuse to which Roberts is subjected, the result is an embarrassing indictment against America. Consider the cases. Following the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision (allowing expanded corporate political advocacy), Roberts was condemned by the left as having unhinged the very bolts of American democracy. Jonathan Alter labeled Roberts a ‘’radical’', and characterized him as a man driven inexorably by his own hubris. Following the recent Shelby County v Holder decision (concerning the Voting Rights Act) Slate’s Emily Bazelon implied that Roberts was a kind of human stealth bomber – covertly annihilating the most precious of American rights for the most vulnerable of American citizens.

It’s not only the left.

Think about the conservative wrath that Roberts incurred for upholding Obamacare. Jim Antle spoke of a ‘’betrayal’’, Brent Bozell declared Roberts a ‘’traitor’’ and Erick Erickson claimed Roberts had self-destructed. Indiana Governor (then Congressman) Mike Pence compared the decision to 9/11. Senator Rand Paul rebuked Marbury v Madison – the foundation of American judicial review. Then, driving the fury off a rhetorical cliff edge, radio host Michael Savage explained that Roberts decision showed he had over-medicated his epilepsy treatments.

But the anti-Roberts racket has another avowed supporter, one who lives at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. In his 2010 State of the Union address, President Obama launched a putrid partisan attack against the Roberts court as it sat in audience. That scene; of cloaked Justices surrounded by baying Democrats should have troubled all Americans. It said something stunning that the President of the United States, let alone a distinguished graduate of Harvard Law School, would deliberately create such a spectacle. Churned in this theatre of absurdity, the separation of powers was rendered a near farce. 

In demanding a political environment in which independent thought is both sought and devalued, Americans have allowed a terrible delusion to permeate our political contemplation. Because Roberts’s votes cannot easily be predicted - because he cannot be tied down, we thus assume that our Chief Justice cannot be trusted. This is our toxic landscape. A land in which honest jurisprudence is regarded as the dark art of a nefarious mind. Who cares that Roberts’s legal opinions offer articulate, easily understandable explanations? Not us. Not in today’s America. Here, orthodoxy holds the mantle of truth. By slandering servants like Roberts; by finding conspiracies and contradictions in their professionalism, we’re discouraging their independence and the very notion of public service.

No comments:

Post a Comment