Justice Roberts Swung

Photo: State of the Union 2020 (49498359562); public domain

Signs of our country fracturing may have struck a chord with Chief Justice John Roberts, resulting in the surprisingly strong decision that ended attempts by liberals to disqualify Trump from the presidency. Roberts has disappointed conservatives for a decade, often providing the swing 5th vote for the liberal side, but he appeared to be having nightmares about national disunity. 

In March, Roberts and the Court shut down the effort to use a long-forgotten provision of the Fourteenth Amendment to disqualify Trump from becoming president again. This abruptly ended a year-long quest by Trump-haters to disqualify Trump on the pretext of the Capitol protests on January 6, 2021. 

Colorado was the first state to exclude Trump from its ballot, which the unsigned decision of the Supreme Court reversed on Monday. This ensured that Trump will be on the ballot there and everywhere else. The ruling was not a moment too soon, as Maine and Illinois had imitated Colorado by blocking Trump from their ballots, too. 

At oral argument Roberts warned that Republican states might retaliate by removing Biden from their ballots. His concern was a chaotic future of states misusing the ballot access process to tip the presidential election to one side or the other. 

Roberts’ decision for the Court then went far beyond the issue of ballot exclusion. To the consternation of liberals, Roberts’ ruling prohibited liberals from disqualifying Trump from the office of presidency by any other way, unless Congress enacts a law authorizing it (which it will not do). 

The Court’s opinion tracked the line of questioning by Roberts at oral argument, where he fretted in speculation about practical consequences if Colorado were allowed to exclude Trump from its ballot. Roberts has always been more of a political animal than a legal scholar, preferring simple logical discussion and straightforward arguments about hypothetical scenarios. 

This post originally appeared at https://www.phyllisschlafly.com/constitution/judicial-supremacy/justice-roberts-swung/

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