Chief Justice John Roberts Once Again Shows He's a Spineless, Authoritarian Coward

(Win McNamee/Pool via AP)

I regret to inform you that Chief Justice John Roberts is doing John Roberts things again. The once-proclaimed “conservative” judge, who was appointed by George W. Bush, has become a mainstay of the liberal wing of the Supreme Court, although the media will still describe him as “joining” them as if he doesn’t have permanent residence there.

(related John Roberts Is a Freaking Coward, and It’s Time to Stop Pretending Otherwise and John Roberts Twists Himself Into a Knot to Strike Down Abortion Law Because of Course He Did)

Roberts ostensibly claims to be protecting the court’s reputation and limiting its impact. In reality, he’s just a spineless weasel who doesn’t want to be held accountable for what a correct ruling might mean. The court does not exist to have its reputation protected. It exists to uphold the Constitution, something Roberts should probably become more acquainted with.

In another show of authoritarian cowardice, Roberts voted with Justices Kagan, Breyer, and Sotomayer by dissenting in a 5-4 ruling that struck down California’s ban on in-house prayer. Yes, a state had actually banned people gathering to pray.

 

You can read more about the ruling here, but it is absolutely terrifying that four of the nine justices on the Supreme Court actually voted that it’s fine for a state to ban in-house prayer meetings based on vague, unsubstantiated pronouncements about “science” (and even if they were substantiated, it wouldn’t be legal, in my view). If the court had voted to uphold such a restriction, it would have essentially made the United States a country where rights, including religious rights, can simply be suspended if an all-knowing government decides a public risk exists. And remember, they get to decide what defines a public risk. You could probably think of a hundred ways in which that could and would be abused without even breaking a sweat.

Roberts, again, because he’s a coward who wants to have permanent chap marks from straddling the fence so much, didn’t actually join Kagan’s dissent, though. Here’s a taste of the incoherence that flows from Harvard University.

In other words, Kagan believes the state can have completely arbitrary, discriminatory rules which reward certain sectors while cracking down on religious gatherings. Movie sets with cafeteria tents are fine. Black Lives Matter protests are gravy. But having your neighbor over to pray for you? Kagan believes the state can send you to jail for that based on its own whim. It’s tyrannical, but we are at a point where nothing surprises me anymore.

You can put Roberts down as yet another failure of the George W. Bush presidency. It wasn’t enough that Bush started two wars without a plan to finish them, blew out the budget, made new entitlements, and generally spit in the face of conservative priorities. He also had to saddle the Supreme Court with a Chief Justice who might as well have been appointed by Barack Obama.