Chief Justice Roberts Refuses to Meet Congressional Democrats Over Alito Flags, SCOTUS Ethics

Erin Schaff/The New York Times via AP, Pool

The Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, John Roberts, has on occasion been the subject of some criticism from the right over his tendency to try to split the middle on some contentious cases. But, we have to admit, he understands the concept of the three co-equal branches of the federal government, which seems to be something Congressional Democrats have a hard time absorbing. 


On Thursday, the Chief Justice declined an invitation from Democrats who wanted him to discuss SCOTUS ethics, as well as the nothing-burger issue of Justice Samuel Alito's wife's flags:

Roberts’ response came in a letter to the senators a day after Alito separately wrote them and House members to reject their demands that he recuse himself from major Supreme Court cases involving former President Donald Trump and the Jan. 6 rioters because of the flags, which are like those carried by rioters at the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol.

Senate Judiciary Chairman Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., a member of the Judiciary panel, had written Roberts a week ago to ask for the meeting and that Roberts take steps to ensure that Alito recuses himself from any cases before the court concerning the Jan. 6 attack or the Republican former president’s attempts to overturn his 2020 election defeat.

“I must respectfully decline your request for a meeting,” Roberts wrote.

This is the correct answer.

This request by Senators Durbin and Whitehouse sure makes it look like they intended to try to call the Supreme Court to account over actions they disagree with, which is something Congress has no business doing. If the good Senators would look over the Constitution - being Democrats, it seems unlikely they are familiar with that document, unless they have gone through it looking for loopholes - they would know that the Supreme Court is a co-equal branch of the federal government. The Court does not answer to Congress, nor the President; the only role the other two branches have is in the nominating and approval processes.


Roberts, in his letter, continued to say:

“Moreover, the format proposed — a meeting with leaders only of one party who have expressed an interest in matters currently pending before the court — simply underscores that participating in such a meeting would be inadvisable,” he wrote.

That would appear to be polite, judicial-speak for "get stuffed."

It's rather baffling how elected and appointed officials seem to know so little about how the country is supposed to be organized.

See Related: SCOTUS Adopts Code of Conduct, but It Won't Stop the Left's Continued Assault on the Top Court 

Dems Destroy Rules of Senate in Blatant Attack on SCOTUS, GOP Rips Them to Shreds

The real concern here is, as Chief Justice Roberts points out, the fact that these senators were demanding a meeting with the Chief Justice in advance of the Court taking up legal issues on which the Senators have been speaking out. That smacks of an attempt to elicit a particular finding on the part of the Court, or even to threaten the Justices.

But that's never happened before - has it? Oh, wait:

Most of us on the conservative and libertarian side of things have had reason to differ with the Chief Justice from time to time, but this time he's precisely right. The only way the Supreme Court can fulfill its constitutional purpose is if it retains independence from any interference or attempts to influence by the other branches of government. Chief Justice Roberts delivered the right response in rebuffing these interfering Senators. Now, we shall have to wait and see if Congressional Democrats will learn anything from this.

Related: Chuck Schumer Incites Mob Violence Against Two Supreme Court Justices and the Media Are Nowhere to Be Found

Schumer Threatens Supreme Court Justices, Dems Try to Justify, Trump Calls For Action, Some Calling for Censure


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