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Judge Roberts a Supreme Surprise


Chief Justice John Roberts surprised us last week when his vote settled the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on whether Barack Obama’s healthcare plan was constitutional. Though a conservative man, who said that during President Ronald Reagan’s first inaugural address, “I felt he was speaking to me,” he nevertheless has lived up to the promise he made in 2003 when he gained his place in the Supreme Court, impressing both parties by saying, “Judges are like umpires. They don’t make the rules; they apply them.”

“I always got a lump in my throat whenever I walked up those marble steps to argue a case,” he said in 2005, the day he was nominated to the Supreme Court, “and I don’t think it was just from the nerves.”

Since then, he has nevertheless lived out some expectations we would have for a conservatively minded judge. In 2005 he voted against abortion rights and school integration plans and campaign finance regulation. It seems his judgment often falls within party lines, but that he has a conscience that transcends party norms and is able to look at cases objectively — something desirable, of course, in a judge.

This fall, he is expected to let his conservative colors shine even more, as he is called to rule on issues of the constitutionality of a University of Texas campus affirmative action program. He has previously said that “The way to stop discriminating on the bases of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race,” implying affirmative action was a poor way to go about the goal.

He will also be voting on a case that tests the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which mandates that there must be federal approval before altering district lines, ballot requirement, and other assurances that minority voters aren’t discriminated against.


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It is uncertain whether the conservative judge will surprise us again — but if he did, it wouldn’t be too much of a surprise.

  • Brandt Hardin

    Republicans would have us believe Obamacare is bad for America. Is there any doubt that a Romney administration would favor the rich and increase the income gap in our country while leaving millions of our citizens uninsured and unprotected? Mitt is a pariah in Mormon Clothing and will stop at nothing to expand an empire of greed for the rich in this country. Can his sacred Mormon underwear gain him enough donations to buy this election?

  • Dorothy LaBarbera

    Chief Justice Roberts is this social conservative’s new hero. I applaud his balanced ruling on Obamacare. In doing so he acted well within the boundaries of the role of the judiciary. Even so, the impact of the ruling has conservative weight (almost a Trojan Horse, if one will allow). As one pundit stated, “Everyone else is playing checkers while John Roberts is playing chess.”

  • http://zafarhasan.brandyourself.com/ Zafar Hasan

    Regardless of your political views, as Americans we should all respect Justice Roberts a little bit more.

    I am not a fan of Obamacare — among other issues, the country is more focused on growth and jobs than healthcare (if you get a job, you get healthcare, after all). I am pretty certain that Justice Roberts shares this view.

    This makes Justice Roberts’ decision all the more admirable. It is clear that he identified that the court was at risk of losing credibility in the aftermath of Bush v. Gore and other politically polarizing cases. In making this decision, he put the interest and credibility of the court above his personal partisan considerations, an increasingly rare trait in modern Washington.

    Justice Roberts recognized that the court has no power to legislate, no military power and no other source of authority other than its own credibility with the people. And he acted to preserve the court’s credibility. So while some may feel that they have won or lost on the partisan issue, Justice Roberts has helped ensure that the system as a whole wins. Zafar Hasan

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Daniel June Posted by on July 6, 2012. Filed under Legal News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.



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