John Roberts (Justice)
Perhaps it was the way he arched an eyebrow. Or maybe it was the momentary twitch of his nose. Could it have been that barely seen curl of the lip?
Somehow, somehow, we must see that Chief Justice John Roberts was critical of President Donald Trump in his commencement address for ninth grade graduates at Cardigan Mountain School even though his name was not mentioned nor was there anything that could be remotely interpreted as the slightest reference to him. Such desperation to discern criticism where none existed of Trump by the Chief Justice came from Los Angeles Times editorial writer Michael McGough in his July 3 opinion piece, A Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. speech that should make Trump's ears burn.
An MRC analysis of labels used on ABC, CBS and NBC morning and evening news shows during the 24 hours after each of the past six Supreme Court nominations demonstrates the pattern. GOP nominees John Roberts, Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch were labeled by reporters as “conservative” a total of 36 times, while Democratic nominees Sonya Sotomayor, Elena Kagan and Merrick Garland were called “liberal” a mere seven times — all on CBS. In fact, there were more occasions (10) when reporters either denied that a Democratic nominee was liberal, or labeled them “centrist” or “moderate.” Republican nominees were never described as “centrist” or “moderate.”
When it comes to Supreme Court justices and their views of the Constitution, on the one hand there’s Clarence Thomas, and on the other there’s everyone else in the 227-year history of the Court, suggested CNN and New Yorker legal analyst Toobin in a Tuesday piece. Toobin called Thomas, who just marked a quarter-century as a SCOTUS justice, “not a conservative but, rather, a radical” who’s driven to advance “his own idiosyncratic interpretation of the Constitution.” Thomas’s jurisprudence is, in Toobin’s words, “reactionary” and “antediluvian.”
Eight Is Enough was a popular television series in the late 1970s and early ’80s. Dahlia Lithwick hinted in a Saturday article that a show about Republicans’ sour attitude toward the current Supreme Court situation might be called Eight’s Not Enough, with the key role played in absentia by Antonin Scalia.
Lithwick theorized that for Republicans, “the 2016 term was meant to be the Supreme Court’s year to destroy Obama…Had [Scalia] lived until July the docket was full of poisoned pills and silent time bombs that would have exploded in President Obama’s face this summer…GOP senators aren’t just angry about losing Justice Scalia’s seat. They are angry because the court as the weapon of choice to screw the president has been taken from them, and they want it back.”
Whomever Barack Obama selects to fill the vacancy left by the death of Antonin Scalia expect the liberal media to worry the selection isn’t progressive enough. As might be expected, journalists criticize the Supreme Court appointments made by Republican presidents as “hardline” and “very conservative.” But even the nominees elevated by recent Democratic presidents have been challenged as not liberal enough for the media’s taste.
CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin took part in the network’s post-Republican debate panel Saturday night and used the occasion to lecture the GOP candidates for all having “bad moments” in “a raucous screamfest” and rallied to the defense of Chief Justice John Roberts to lament the direction of the party he doesn’t even belong to. Further, liberal CNN presidential historian Douglas Brinkley proclaimed that “Donald Trump won the debate” by being “bombastic” and prepared “to rumble” with the five other candidates.
As the Supreme Court term begins, NPR court correspondent Nina Totenberg played dumb on Monday’s Morning Edition, much like Adam Liptak at The New York Times. Why would conservatives dislike “consistently conservative” chief justice John Roberts?
Desperately employing rickety rationales twice to uphold Obamacare somehow doesn’t undermine “consistency.” Totenberg forgot Roberts being hailed by Time magazine in 2012 as similar to Beethoven, Willie Mays, and King Solomon: “Not since King Solomon offered to split the baby has a judge engineered a slicker solution to a bitterly divisive dispute.”
New York Times Supreme Court correspondent Adam Liptak filed a liberal pleasing analysis Tuesday, fervently insisting Chief Justice John Roberts is a staunch conservative, despite what ridiculous right-wingers may think. His reported opinion piece, based on voting analysis by law professors, strained to show Roberts as a loyal conservative Justice, but the evidence is hardly as cut and dried as Liptak's charged tone would suggest. Liptak has always trended left, as when he faulted the "terse" old U.S. Constitution as outdated for failing to guarantee entitlements like health care.
Conservatives have an ideological fever, and the only prescription is to wait until their crazy ideas vanish. That’s the word from Washington Monthly blogger Martin Longman, who opined in a Wednesday post that many on the right have suffered from a sort of “heat-fever” when confronted with President Obama and his policies.
Longman explained that “a fever is something that comes over you suddenly, causing addled thinking, hallucinations and other delusions, but which eventually breaks and goes away as quickly as it arrived...[T]he Obama Era has been marked by an unusual number of these outbreaks of mass insanity,” such as rage against the Affordable Care Act.
In the week since the Supreme Court upheld certain Obamacare subsidies, some on the left, applying the wisdom that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend,” have gratefully praised majority-opinion-writer John Roberts. But now liberals need to put their warm fuzzies for the chief justice behind them and guard against “complacency” regarding the court, advised Brian Beutler in a Tuesday article.
“Nothing inspires spasms of rage on the right quite like Obamacare, which explains why the conservatives feel as if Roberts has betrayed them on a Shakespearean scale,” wrote Beutler. Nonetheless, Roberts has established his right-wing bona fides on many other matters, including “affirmative action, voting rights, [and] campaign finance regulations,” and conservatives see the Roberts court as a “useful tool” in their effort to “litigate federal regulatory laws.”
It’s likely that most NewsBusters readers are familiar with the grimly humorous saying “the beatings will continue until morale improves.” Last Friday, UCLA professor of public policy Mark Kleiman opined in so many words that the Republican party’s beatings in presidential elections will continue until its mental health improves.
In a Friday Washington Monthly post, Kleiman mocked conservatives for their allegedly fanciful belief that their “frivolous” arguments in King v. Burwell would carry the day and predicted that Republicans probably have a few more years of delusion and defeat ahead of them: “It’s possible that a convincing [Hillary] Clinton win and a Democratic recapture of the Senate in 2016 will shock the GOP back to reality. But I wouldn’t bet on it. Feeding right-wing fury is a profitable venture financially, and it works well enough electorally in off-years to keep the hustle going. My guess is that it will take a Clinton re-election landslide in 2020 to do the job.”
When the Left erupted in outrage over the Supreme Court decision on campaign financing in Citizens United, they never thought their resistance to the result could be described as “treason.” But that’s not the way they’re playing on the new gay-pleasing decisions.
At The Daily Beast, contributor and gay activist Jay Michaelson asked “Did The Four Dissenting Justices In Gay Marriage Case Just Suggest Treason? The conservative justices’ incendiary dissents in Obergefell are a shocking betrayal of judicial responsibility.”