Liberals Find an Unlikely Ally in Supreme Court This Week: John Roberts


Chief Justice John Roberts was originally appointed to the Supreme Court in 2005, by George W. Bush. At the time, he vowed to be an impartial mediator of law, not a partisan on the court. In the years since his confirmation, this has proven true: Roberts voted in favor of unlimited campaign spending in the Citizen’s United case. However, he later upheld Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act.

All said, Roberts has proven to have a slight conservative bend, but he’s far from partisan. This week has been a resounding reinforcement of that philosophy. On Monday, Roberts sided with the majority in a landmark case on LGBT rights. Then, on Thursday, he was the swing vote on a case that upheld DACA, marking a huge win for immigrants.

Chief Justice Angers Conservatives

As one might expect, conservatives aren’t too pleased with Roberts’ one-two punch at the Trump Administration. President Donald Trump on Twitter openly suggested adding more justices to the court that would vote in alignment with his politics. The president called the Supreme Court’s recent decisions “shotgun blasts” in the face of conservatives.

“These horrible & politically charged decisions coming out of the Supreme Court are shotgun blasts into the face of people that are proud to call themselves Republicans or Conservatives. We need more Justices or we will lose our 2nd. Amendment & everything else. Vote Trump 2020!”

The blows from the Supreme Court are likely a particular sore spot for conservatives. Throughout Trump’s term as president, political lobbying groups have spent millions of dollars on the confirmation of Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh to the court. To spend all that money and then lose two high-profile cases back to back has got to sting.

Roberts Deals Blows to Trump Administration

Recent court cases have seen Roberts dealing major blows to the Trump Administration. Last session, Roberts joined the court’s liberal wing in denying the federal government a chance to include a “citizenship” question on the 2020 census.

Then, this week, Roberts sided with the majority in a case that extended Title VII protections to LGBT workers. In the case, Roberts proved his textualist bona-fides. The Chief Justice ruled that, due to the wording of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, workers couldn’t be discriminated against based on sex. As a matter of course, he argued, that included gay and trans workers.

On Thursday, the Supreme Court found that the Trump Administration’s attempt to pull down the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program was unlawful. DACA is a highly popular program that allows the children of immigrants to the United States to stay in the country. These children, colloquially known as “Dreamers,” have been a frequent target of Trump’s ire during his time in office.