John Roberts Defends SCOTUS' Legitimacy, Ginni Thomas In Cahoots With 38 Anti-Choice Lobbyist Groups
People seem to be losing faith in the Supreme Court, thinking that it is perhaps not just a casual, entirely unbiased, not-at-all politically motivated group of people who serve only to interpret the constitution in an entirely neutral manner, and Chief Justice John Roberts is not happy about that. Not that he wants SCOTUS to do anything about that. This is, of course, entirely our fault.
In a speech at the 10th Circuit Bench and Bar Conference in Colorado Springs on Friday night, Colorado, Roberts urged the American public to pay no attention to the fact that the court tilts all the way to the Right now, or the fact that a bunch of Republican-appointed justices just ignored precedent to overturn a 50-year-old decision that people have come to rely on as a constitutionally guaranteed right. Rather, he would like for people to consider the court to be a very legitimate institution that serves only to interpret the constitution.
He also talked about how very "gut-wrenching" it was to have to drive through barricades every day on his way to work, as people protested "something," he did not say what. That must be nearly as traumatizing as if he were forced to give birth against his will.
Roberts, without directly mentioning protests, said that all of the court's opinions are open to criticism, but he pointedly noted that "simply because people disagree with opinions, is not a basis for questioning the legitimacy of the court."He said that it's the court's job to interpret the Constitution -- a task that should not be left to the political branches or driven by public opinion. [...]
Acknowledging that the last year had been "difficult in many respects," Roberts said he and his colleagues are working to move beyond it.
"I think just moving forward from things that were unfortunate is the best way to respond," he said.
Well that is probably easy to do when, again, no one is forcing you to have a baby against your will.
As a matter of pure coincidence, it was revealed earlier on Friday that Ginni Thomas, wife of Justice Clarence Thomas, was found to be linked to over half of the lobbying groups that had been petitioning the court to overturn Roe. In some other, less ridiculous country, that might be considered a conflict of interest for her husband and perhaps a reason he should have recused himself from the Dobbs decision, but this is America so nah.
Via The Guardian:
The analysis of the amicus briefs was carried out by Advance Democracy Inc, a non-partisan organization specializing in public-interest research and investigations. It shared its findings with the Guardian.
They show an intricate web of connections between many of the most influential groups and figures on the conservative hard right, with Ginni Thomas at the centre of it. Several of the links run through her consultancy, Liberty Consulting, which she set up in 2010 and which brags that it can “give access to any door in Washington”.
Another major route is through the Council for National Policy (CNP), a secretive Christian conservative networking group that the New York Times described as a “little-known club of a few hundred of the most powerful conservatives in the country”. The binding mission of the members is “limited government, strong national defense, and support for traditional western values”.
Ginni Thomas is listed as a board director of the lobbying arm of the group, CNP Action, in a 2020 tax filing obtained by the investigative watchdog Documented. In a speech to a CNP event in 2019 she described her role within the conservative movement as that of “a convenor – I find the talent and I put them in the room and have them talk to one another”.
The list goes on. And on. And on. The Guardian article also notes that many of these groups are also on a mission to erode LGBTQ rights, which Clarence Thomas signaled he was very excited to do in his Dobbs opinion.
Perhaps if John Roberts wants people to see the court as legitimate and not a hostile takeover by the Republican Party (who, let us just note, literally stole a SCOTUS appointment from President Obama), he should encourage Thomas to, if not resign entirely, at least recuse himself from cases his wife is actively involved in. That would certainly be a step in the right direction.
People are not saying that the Court has lost its legitimacy because they "disagreed" with one opinion. They are saying that because it is true. If the court is just interpreting the constitution with no secret bias (despite "interpreting" it differently than courts have "interpreted" it for the last 50 years), then it would stand to reason that sometimes the Right would win and sometimes the Left would win — because no one side can be constitutionally correct all of the time, no matter what. But we all know that this is exactly what the next several decades will be like, until there is a reasonably balanced court again.
There is no mystery. There is no "will they or won't they?!?" We know exactly how every decision will be ruled on, before the arguments even start. What is the point of the Supreme Court if we could achieve the exact same result by just asking Ginni Thomas what she would like to see happen?
It may hurt John Roberts' feelings that people don't see the Supreme Court the way he'd like them to see the Supreme Court, but they are going to see it that way, they are going to see it as an illegitimate entity, a branch of the Republican Party as long as it continues to be that. The only thing that could save the Court, in terms of being seen as legitimate or remotely fair, would be to expand it. But sadly, that's probably not going to happen.
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse