If Chief Justice John Roberts respects the country’s High Court, its history and reputation, as he always says he does, he should step down immediately as a chief justice. It is going to get uglier; he has to know that by now.
Roberts quitting would not change the legal ideology of the voting patterns of the Court but it would send a message. Mainly, this Court is ‘f’d’ up right now and becoming more ‘f’d’ up by the term. Check yourself.
Roberts will be viewed as a total sellout if he quits. He will be looked at as a failure by some (I think he did his job). He will also be giving President Biden another appointment to the Court. That’s cool, the Republicans stole a seat anyway; time to give it back.
But Roberts, who strikes me as an actual human being, will be doing the right thing if he checks out of that snake pit tribunal. At the same time Biden names a new justice, he could then make Elena Kagan, the first woman Chief Justice in the history of the High Court.
Kagan is probably the sharpest legal mind on the Court right now. She would not have the votes to do much but it would still shake things up. She could also control opinions slightly by who gets to write them.
So, why not?
Right now, the U.S. Supreme Court is a joke. It is a political machine for the hard right with a theocratic approach to life. The Court right now doesn’t even pretend to be legal in nature; it is political. Granted, any court has a political slant to it but this court is so blatantly political, it needs a clear split to expose that even more.
It is pretty clear Roberts has been fed up for years now. Who keeps a job they hate? He could be making millions outside of the place. Worse, he is chief justice and he no longer runs the asylum. Back when he issued his famous opinion in the Affordable Care Act case, both sides hated the opinion but the Court was his Court. Now, it isn’t. I hated the Seattle-Louisville integration case but it was Roberts’ Court.
He also complains about the institutional reputation of the Court. He has joined liberal opinions on technicalities to try to slow down his medieval colleagues. He has urged restraint. But none of it works.
This is what happens when politics takes over. The Clarence Thomas Court, which is what I call it, is committed to this disastrous path it has set forth. Thomas has resorted to breaking the law to press forth its crazy agenda.
The Thomas Court wants to ‘Make America Great Again.’ It wants to take the country back to 1950 or even earlier than that. It regularly spits on the civil rights of people and the rights of women and just common decency. It believes in a Court that sides with business and economic activity at the expense of human life one earth.
Roberts knows this now though he agrees with a lot it too. But, he recently joined the liberals in a dissent against an emergency petition to reinstate a Trump era rule making a mockery of the Clean Water Act. His vote was the waving of a red flag, the sounding of an alarm. Stop now.
But they won’t stop, at least not with some actual pressure.
Roberts is 67 years old and has served honorably. There is no rule that says he must remain. Justice David Souter stepped away early fed up with the Court’s direction. He was about the same age at Roberts.
If Roberts leaves, the conservatives will know, it is now just one vote away from basic common sense again and not the complete madness they have set forth in case after case. Roberts, if you ask me, has an opportunity to truly send a message to everyone by quitting.
Previously Published on Medium