Chief Justice Roberts Says SCOTUS Is Independent. Is It?

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell with C.J. John Roberts

In a rare public address Chief Justice Roberts of the U.S. Supreme Court talked about the recent contentious Kavanaugh confirmation process and reiterated how important it is that the public views the High Court as independent. C.J. Roberts said regarding judicial independence, “Our role[Supreme Court] is very clear. We are to interpret the constitution and the laws of the United States and ensure that the political branches act within them. That job obviously requires independence from the political branches.”

The problem with that is the person at the center of the public’s disaffection with the Roberts Supreme Court, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, has also recently spoken about the Roberts Court. Sen McConnell and by extension his GOP’s view of the Roberts Supreme Court is in stark contrast to what Chief Justice Roberts says. Specifically, there is no question that according to Sen McConnell and his GOP, they have fought hard to pack the Roberts Supreme Court with conservative judges for the express purpose of getting favorable decisions from the court..

Sen McConnell recently said at a press conference following Justice Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court. “If you want to have a long term impact, and obviously all of us would like to do that, the single most significant way to do it is judicial appointments and my party has not been in this position all that long. You can go back 100 years and only 20 of the last 100 years have Republicans had the Presidency, the House and Senate the same time, and so these opportunities have not come along that often for us and I do think it is the most consequential thing that I’ve been involved in in my time as leader.”

So what is a regular American looking at Chief Justice Roberts’ remarks about judicial independence and Senator McConnell’s partisan political remarks about judicial appointments supposed to think? Why would Sen McConnell and his GOP block President Obama’s rightful nominee Garland and then ram through Kavanaugh if the end result was to have an independent Supreme Court? Reasonable people would agree that if the Supreme Court was truly independent as Chief Justice Roberts argues, there would be more consensus in the senate confirmation process. In other words the fact that the senate confirmation fights have become so bitter is in itself proof of a partisan Roberts Supreme Court.


Bottom line as Yours Truly said in an earlier post, the Roberts Supreme Court has a serious credibility problem. It is sad to say it but most Americans are more inclined to believe Sen McConnell’s narrative over that of C.J. Roberts–that Republicans have made the Roberts Supreme Court a conservative court with the express intention of using the High Court to advance their Republican agenda–a partisan political court. Simply put, there is no way any reasonable person looking at the way Sen McConnell blocked Obama’s nominee Garland, rammed Kavanaugh through, and then gave a press conference bragging about his legacy of steering the court to the right, can ever conclude that the Roberts Supreme Court is somehow an independent court.

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