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For Lack Of Public Confidence In The Supreme Court, John Roberts Has Only Himself To Blame


BY: SHAWN FLEETWOOD | SEPTEMBER 14, 2022

Read more at https://thefederalist.com/2022/09/14/for-lack-of-public-confidence-in-the-supreme-court-john-roberts-has-only-himself-to-blame/

John Roberts speaking at a conference
U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts

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U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts is back in the public spotlight and his latest remarks on judicial integrity are turning heads. Appearing at the 10th Circuit Bench and Bar Conference in Colorado Springs, Colorado on Friday, the chief justice spoke about the perceived credibility of the Supreme Court among the American public and how disagreeing with its opinions “is not a basis for questioning [its] legitimacy.”

“The court has always decided controversial cases and decisions have always been subject to intense criticism, and that is entirely appropriate,” Roberts said. “But I don’t understand the connection between the opinions people disagree with and the legitimacy of the Supreme Court.”

Following the Supreme Court’s rulings on several hot-button issues this past session, such as the striking down of Roe v. Wade and upholding of Second Amendment rights, Democrats and their sycophants in legacy media have been quick to vilify the high court and call into question its ability to operate as an independent body simply because a majority of justices didn’t give them the outcomes they wanted. While it’s fair for Roberts to push back against such logic and distinguish the legitimacy of the high court from its judicial decisions, his next comments were impossible to take seriously.

“If the court doesn’t retain its legitimate function of interpreting the Constitution, I’m not sure who would take up that mantle,” the chief justice said. “You don’t want the political branches telling you what the law is, and you don’t want public opinion to be the guide about what the appropriate decision is.”

For someone who holds the rank of chief justice, the lack of self-awareness from Roberts is stunning. Throughout his tenure on the Supreme Court, Roberts’s judicial decision-making on various high-profile cases has been guided by “public opinion.”

When the court was considering the constitutionality of Obamacare in the 2012 NFIB v. Sebelius case, for instance, Roberts reportedly took extensive actions behind the scenes to alter the Supreme Court’s final decision on the matter, even though Obamacare is obviously unconstitutional. After initially siding with his Republican-appointed colleagues in striking down the individual mandate of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) “on the grounds that it went beyond Congress’s power to regulate interstate commerce,” Roberts got cold feet over fears of potential public blowback over the high court’s impending decision and worked with his Democrat-appointed colleagues to change it.

As reported by SCOTUS biographer Joan Biskupic in her book, “The Chief,” Roberts’s bid to play politics led him to form a deal with leftist Justices Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan that upheld and struck down certain portions of the ACA.

“After trying unsuccessfully to find a middle way with [Justice Anthony] Kennedy, who was ‘unusually firm’ and even ‘put off’ by the courtship, Roberts turned to the Court’s two moderate liberals, Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan,” a review of “The Chief” published in The Atlantic reads. “The threesome negotiated a compromise decision that upheld the ACA’s individual mandate under Congress’s taxing power, while striking down the Medicaid expansion.”

Biskupic’s reporting echoes findings released by CBS News’ Jan Crawford. She in 2012 reported that “Roberts pays attention to media coverage” and that “[a]s chief justice, he is keenly aware of his leadership role on the court” and “is sensitive to how the court is perceived by the public.”

In spite of his efforts to maintain the court’s favorability as measured by often-biased poll results, Roberts’s games in the NFIB v. Sebelius case did the exact opposite. As detailed in their bestselling book, “Justice on Trial: The Kavanaugh Confirmation and the Future of the Supreme Court,” Federalist Editor-in-Chief Mollie Hemingway and President of the Judicial Crisis Network Carrie Severino detail how “Pew [Research] reported that after the decision the Court remained at its all-time-low 52 percent approval.”

“The accepted narrative, even among those who welcomed the chief’s decision, was that he changed his legal position not on principle but in response to public pressure,” Hemingway and Severino write. “The right lost respect for him, and the decision won him no friends on the left, which still portrays him as unforgivably conservative and a craven political operative. It was a regrettable outcome for anyone concerned about the legitimacy of the Court.”

Roberts’s deference to the consistently changing and poll-manipulated opinions of the American public at the expense of upholding the Constitution didn’t stop at the Obamacare ruling, either. Over the years, Roberts has routinely abandoned originalism for political activism, with the court’s 2022 Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision striking down Roe‘s made-up “constitutional right” to an abortion serving as a more recent example.

Despite Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett all correctly maintaining that the precedent established in Roe was unconstitutional garbage, Roberts attempted — yet again — to play politician and convince one of his Republican-appointed colleagues to change his or her vote before the opinion was released. Originally reported by The Washington Post and later Biskupic, Roberts directed his lobbying to save Roe toward justices including Brett Kavanaugh, which “continued through the final weeks of the [2021-2022] session.”

“Multiple sources told CNN that Roberts’ overtures this spring, particularly to Kavanaugh, raised fears among conservatives and hope among liberals that the chief could change the outcome in the most closely watched case in decades,” Biskupic writes. “Once the draft was published by Politico, conservatives pressed their colleagues to try to hasten release of the final decision, lest anything suddenly threaten their majority.”

The report went on to detail how the abrupt May leak of the Supreme Court’s majority draft opinion in Dobbs “thwarted” Roberts’ efforts, with Biskupic noting how the chief justice “can usually work in private, seeking and offering concessions, without anyone beyond the court knowing how he or other individual justices have voted or what they may be writing.”

In the final opinion, Roberts ultimately sided with the leftist justices of the court in upholding Roe, while also voting with his Republican-appointed colleagues to uphold the Mississippi 15-week abortion law as constitutional.

Whether he wants to admit it to himself or not, a decline in public confidence in the Supreme Court isn’t due to any originalist rulings, but to Roberts’s political activism. The role of a judge is — and always has been — to apply the Constitution as it was originally written by the Founders; not manipulate the law to satisfy some personal desire for public approval.

In abdicating his responsibility as a justice, Roberts has given the country every reason to be skeptical of the court’s ability to operate freely from the politics that plague America’s societal discourse. If the chief justice had any interest in ensuring the future of the Supreme Court’s legitimacy, he would quit acting like Mitch McConnell in a robe and start behaving like the judge he was appointed to be.


Shawn Fleetwood is a Staff Writer for The Federalist and a graduate of the University of Mary Washington. He also serves as a state content writer for Convention of States Action and his work has been featured in numerous outlets, including RealClearPolitics, RealClearHealth, and Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @ShawnFleetwood

    Democrats Say, ‘No One Is Above the Law,’ But This List of Their Corrupt Allies Proves Otherwise


    BY: JORDAN BOYD | AUGUST 17, 2022

    Read more at https://thefederalist.com/2022/08/17/democrats-say-no-one-is-above-the-law-but-this-list-of-their-corrupt-allies-proves-otherwise/

    President Joe Biden and Attorney General Merrick Garland

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    When the FBI executed a raid on the home of former President Donald Trump, who happens to be the most popular political leader in America, the “get Trump” crowd was overjoyed.

    Democrat Speaker of the House Nancy PelosiMiles Taylor (the “anonymous” author who pretended to be a senior Trump aide), Clinton-era Secretary of Labor Robert Reich, even Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, and many others all gave the same justification for the FBI’s actions that they gave for Trump’s first and second impeachments: “No one is above the law, not even a president of the United States.”

    Yet, a majority of Americans know that’s categorically untrue. That’s why so many of them rejected Attorney General Merrick Garland and FBI Director Christopher Wray’s scolding of anyone who dared question their credibility following the raid.

    But while the FBI and DOJ have busied themselves with targeting Trump and his aides, colluding with the National School Boards Association to silence concerned parents, concocting entrapment schemes masquerading as plots to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, and chasing down election integrity supporters at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, plenty of real criminals and security threats have gotten away scot-free. That’s no accident.

    Here is everyone who Democrats and their bureaucrat buddies have deemed “above the law” and unworthy of proper investigation and prosecution.

    1. President Joe Biden

    A president avoiding paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxes seems like the kind of thing federal agencies, including the recently financially invigorated Internal Revenue Service, should explore. Yet Biden, who hasn’t explained millions of dollars of his recorded income, and First Lady Jill Biden together reportedly dodged about $517,000 in Medicare and Obamacare taxes between 2017 and 2020 without scrutiny.

    2. Hunter Biden

    The president’s son isn’t just a walking liability for the Biden family name, he’s a glaring national security threat with a long, infamous history of using illicit drugs, engaging in possibly criminal sexual escapades with foreign women, and selling access to his dad under the guise of doing business with foreign oligarchs.

    Besides all this and his reckless handling of a lost gun in 2018 — which, against normal protocol, the Secret Service reportedly helped him cover up — Hunter likely lied on federal forms about his drug use to purchase that gun, a felony, with barely a whisper of punishment.

    3. Hillary Clinton

    Hillary Clinton and her staff mishandled highly classified information, which resulted in at least 91 security violations. The FBI, of course, never raided Clinton’s house over her rogue server despite the crimes committed to cover it up. Instead, as Sen. Chuck Grassley put it, the FBI “inexplicably agreed to destroy [Clinton staffers Cheryl Mills and Heather Samuelson’s] laptops knowing that the contents were the subject of Congressional subpoenas and preservation letters.”

    4. Everyone Involved in Benghazi

    Speaking of Clinton, why wasn’t she or any other Obama-era bureaucrat who was responsible for abandoning four Americans in Benghazi, Libya, where they were murdered by terrorists, punished for trying to cover up the fatal scandal?

    5. Illegal Border Crossers

    U.S. Customs and Border Protection has apprehended roughly 3.5 million illegal border crossers since Biden assumed office, but those migrants are rarely punished for violating the law.

    Instead of addressing how the compromised border is fostering an environment ripe for trafficking and other crimes, the Biden administration along with the FBI and DOJ have brushed off concerns about illegal immigration. Apparently, it is more important to go after American citizens than prosecute potentially dangerous foreign ones.

    6. Gavin Newsom and Every Other Dem Who Partied While Americans Suffered Lockdowns

    Dozens of Democrats including California Gov. Gavin Newsom, Pelosi, and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio were caught violating their own Covid-19 lockdown rules. If Democrats cared about rule of law so much, why did these politicians escape accountability?

    7. Summer of Rage Rioters

    During the summer of 2020, rioters looted, burned, and destroyed more than $2 billion worth of private and federal property. Some of those who were caught were bailed out by Kamala Harris and her allies and let off the hook by the federal government. The rioters who weren’t caught can live comfortably knowing that the DOJ is too busy trying to track down potential J6 offenders to prosecute them.

    8. Climate Insurrectionists

    In October 2021, rowdy climate rioters stormed the Department of the Interiorphysically fought with police, and vandalized a building. Several officers were even injured, but I don’t see the rioters’ faces plastered all over an FBI tip line website nor an illegitimate congressional committee dedicated to their downfall.

    9. Jane’s Revenge

    It took 44 days after attacks on dozens of pregnancy centers, churches, and pro-life organizations began for the FBI to tell The Federalist that it would investigate the firebombings. Two months after the agency reportedly started its search into the criminal activity, neither the FBI nor DOJ has announced charges against the vandals, including a mysterious anarchist-connected group called Jane’s Revenge, which took responsibility for some of the destruction.

    10. Everyone Else Who Threatened SCOTUS over Dobbs

    Shortly after a leak revealed that the Supreme Court planned to strike down Roe v. Wade, leftists called for violence against the Republican-nominated justices. While the Biden administration and DOJ stood idly by, some even said the court should burn to the ground. It took until a man was caught attempting to assassinate Justice Brett Kavanaugh, one of Garland’s former colleagues, for the DOJ to respond to Republican Sen. Marco Rubio’s questions about whether the agency planned to prosecute anyone touting the “ongoing, coordinated campaign of intimidation against the majority of the justices on the Supreme Court.” Even then, nothing came of the DOJ’s words.

    11. The Pelosi Family

    Suspected insider trading deserves at least a second glance by federal investigators, but it looks like, so far, Nancy Pelosi and her husband Paul have gotten away with conveniently timing their stock purchases and sales to massively grow their wealth.

    12. Almost Everyone on Jeffrey Epstein’s Client List

    Epstein and his co-conspirator Ghislaine Maxwell were both convicted of trafficking children for sex, but the list of their clients is still reportedly harbored by the DOJ, something lamented by many including Elon Musk. Of those names that have surfaced from Epstein’s “little black book,” few have been prosecuted and convicted for their involvement in the sex-trafficking ring.

    13. Marc Elias and Election Law-Breakers

    Marc Elias has repeatedly tried to undermine U.S. elections, something the FBI loves to spy on Americans for. Elias has such a reputation for meddling and manipulating elections that even a federal judge reprimanded him for it. Unlike Douglass Mackey, who was charged by the DOJ for posting a meme encouraging Hillary voters to “text” their votes, however, Elias has not faced any charges or unannounced raids.

    14. Mark Milley

    Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, undermined Trump by having secret conversations with known U.S. enemy communist China. In those covert calls, Milley promised to warn China if the U.S. ever decided to attack. Talk about a national security threat that deserves some attention from federal law enforcement.

    15. Eric Swalwell

    Speaking of communist China, Democrat Rep. Eric Swalwell canoodling with a known spy for the nation’s No. 1 enemy seems like a pretty serious offense. Instead of a member of the House Intelligence Committee facing consequences for giving foreign spies access to key U.S. government offices and information, Swalwell is still comfortably rage-tweeting about Trump and MAGA supporters and appearing as a guest on corrupt corporate media programs.

    16. The NSA

    The National Security Agency deserved to be disbanded over its wiretapping scandal, but it’s still spying on Americans such as Fox News host Tucker Carlson with no reprimand.

    17. Eric Holder

    Former Attorney General Eric Holder misled Congress during its investigation of the Obama-era “Fast and Furious” gun-running scandal, which used taxpayer dollars to put guns into the hands of Mexican drug lords. Holder was held in contempt, but that’s pretty much the only punishment he received for intentionally dodging subpoenas and hiding documents from congressional oversight.

    18. Susan Rice

    President Barack Obama’s National Security Adviser Susan Rice unmasked members of the Trump transition team and then lied about it. Unmasking may be a legitimate and legal process for those with the authority, but covering up an attempt to target the political enemies of the regime is an abuse of power that deserves examination.

    Instead, it was yet another action U.S. intelligence agencies exploited to justify spying on American citizens.

    19. All the Russia Hoaxers

    There were plenty of people in the DOJ and FBI who broke the law when they lied on official documents and to other officials to advance the Russia-collusion hoax. Yet, FBI Director Christopher Wray admitted during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in early August that so far, none of the FBI agents involved in the SpyGate scandal against Trump have faced serious consequences.

    Similarly, despite lying about why he was supplying information about a supposed link between Trump and the Russia-based Alfa Bank to the FBI, former Clinton campaign attorney Michael Sussmann was acquitted and let go without consequence.

    20. Themselves

    The same people who control the enforcement of the law, who love lording “no one is above the law” over Americans, are the ones who think they are above any semblance of oversight or law or constitutionality.

    That’s why the FBI has skirted any of Congress’s attempts at oversight even though it has a long history of botched and politicized investigations, sometimes authorized on falsified information.

    Instead of investigating and prosecuting real crimes, the FBI and DOJ have chosen to shame Americans who have called out the corruption and politicization that clearly drives their agencies’ actions. That’s a deliberate decision, but also a disastrous one.

    Rule of law is one thing that sets the United States apart as a bastion of freedom, but when the government fails to uphold it properly, as the list details, the nation is in crisis and on the verge of falling apart.


    Jordan Boyd is a staff writer at The Federalist and co-producer of The Federalist Radio Hour. Her work has also been featured in The Daily Wire and Fox News. Jordan graduated from Baylor University where she majored in political science and minored in journalism. Follow her on Twitter @jordanboydtx.

    Vermont Plans to Enshrine Legal Abortions Right Up to Birth


    REPORTED BY: JOHN KLAR | FEBRUARY 07, 2022

    Read more at https://thefederalist.com/2022/02/07/vermont-plans-to-enshrine-legal-abortions-right-up-to-birth/

    Vermont

    A three-year battle in Vermont is coming to a head over Proposal 5, an amendment to the state constitution that would enshrine existing Vermont abortion “liberties” to terminate pregnancies up until birth

    Roe v. Wade established “viability” as the determinant of when state governments hold a “compelling” interest to protect children. The current challenge to Roe in the Supreme Court concerns a Mississippi law that would ban abortions after 15 weeks. Vermont’s Proposal 5 essentially defines fetal viability at 40 weeks (birth), ignoring both Roe and the science of human development. 

    The Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade sought to balance not just competing moral and political views, but the two lives at issue:

    The pregnant woman cannot be isolated in her privacy. She carries an embryo and, later, a fetus, if one accepts the medical definitions of the developing young in the human uterus… Each grows in substantiality as the woman approaches term and, at a point during pregnancy, each becomes ‘compelling.’ With respect to the state’s important and legitimate interest in potential life, the ‘compelling’ point is at viability.

    Modern medicine has revealed the miracle of human development, increasing public awareness of that second person even acknowledged by Roe. This reality drives increased public opposition to late-term abortions: recent polls show 80 percent of Americans oppose them. Medical science is also clear about what the Supreme Court described as viability:

    Periviability, also referred to as borderline viability, is defined as the earliest stage of fetal maturity (i.e., between 22 and 26 weeks gestation) when there is a reasonable chance, although not a high likelihood, of extrauterine survival.

    The current Mississippi dispute, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, seeks to protect unborn children from abortion prior to current scientific consensus on viability, at 15 weeks. Abortion proponents portray that as restrictive, and indeed treat any objection to late-term abortions as moralizing religiosity, yet secular France is currently embroiled in a parliamentary dispute over whether to expand long-standing restrictions on abortions there from 12 weeks to 14.

    Vermont’s Abortion Law

    Vermont established “abortion protections” through delivery in 2019, in its “no-limits” H.57, overcoming Republican efforts to impose a 24-week limitation, or to exempt minor girls. Proposal 5 now seeks to cement those same horrors into the Vermont constitution, and compel conservative elected representatives to swear an oath to its abhorrent provisions.

    Women and young girls around the nation and world (Vermont provides free abortions to unlawful entrants) who make last-minute decisions to terminate their pregnancies may have no place to turn for “rescue” except the ghoulish Green Mountain State.

    Vermont has long embraced this barbaric extremism with regard to the unborn. Its leftist legislature has steadfastly avoided acknowledging fetal personhood at any age, which leaves pregnant women gravely unprotected from domestic abusers who murder their unborn children — there is no Vermont recognition of these as homicides, even if the child is viable.

    In one heartbreaking case, a young mother lost her twins at six months’ gestation when she was struck by an impaired driver. The Vermont legislature has repeatedly refused to honor her loss, or protect other mothers whose children are similarly murdered. Instead of acknowledging Roe’s “compelling” interest to protect the constitutional rights of viable children, Vermont uses its laws to deny the acknowledgment such children ever lived.

    Proposal 5 Is Even Worse

    Proposal 5 tightens that noose: unborn children in Vermont are not safe from murder by abortion when viable, only when they pass their mother’s cervix and breath air on their own. Vermont’s Proposal 5 will legally deny the recognition of the existence of that person Roe federally acknowledged in its “viability” rule. Thus Vermont has scorned even Roe’s political, moral, and scientific balancing efforts. 

    The Vermont progressive minority that has belched forth this abominable legislation is hell-bent on “preserving” its obscene accomplishments in constitutional cement. Planned Parenthood has even improperly cooperated with the Vermont attorney general’s office. Progressives invoke the eugenics horrors and the 15-week Mississippi attack on Roe as justification for Proposal 5. Vermont also offers sterilizing transgender hormone therapies to minor children without parental consent, in the same hospital that performs the majority of the late-term “procedures” in the state.

    Supreme Court Must Address this Inequity

    Vermont progressives are inviting the fall of Roe they fear. If states refuse to protect that second life acknowledged by Roe, and public sentiment continues to escalate in revulsion to abortion because of growing scientific awareness of the miraculousness of fetal development, is it not appropriate for the U.S. Supreme Court to take the required next step? Certainly there is no state constitutional recourse in Vermont on behalf of tortured viable children if its Constitution is amended to preempt that very possibility.

    Roe v. Wade concerned the constitutional right to privacy of women while acknowledging a constitutional right to human personhood in the unborn at viability. It established federal preemptive boundaries to protect the first class, but left it to states to protect the second — and Vermont isn’t.

    It is illogical for the U.S. Supreme Court not to address this glaring jurisprudential inequity. Does the U.S. Constitution contain a “right” for women to privately murder viable children? Roe specifically held they do not. But Roe did not articulate federal boundaries of constitutional protection for that child. As Justice Potter Stewart noted in his concurrence: 

    ….the protection of a person’s general right to privacy –  his right to be let alone by other people – is like the protection of his property and of his very life, left largely to the law of the individual States.

    Many speculate that Mississippi’s law may be affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court. The New York Times proclaims “If the justices were to approve the law, Roe’s viability standard would no longer be the law of the land.” That does not bode well for Vermont’s extremist left minority. 

    The Supreme Court must declare that there is a gestation date beyond which women cannot constitutionally exterminate their young in the womb, and acknowledge what science proves: there is a separate human at issue, who must not be marginalized. Even if at a post-viable stage of 30 weeks, once federal fetal personhood is rightly acknowledged (much like when women and racial minorities were included in the Constitution’s protections), unconscionable laws like Proposal 5 will collapse under federal preemption.

    Extremism such as Vermont’s demands federal rescue. 


    John Klar is an attorney, writer, pastor, and farmer who lives off-grid in Vermont. John blogs for Mother Earth News on agriculture issues, and maintains a weekly commentary in The Newport Daily Express.

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