Chief Justice John Roberts defends Supreme Court’s legitimacy

Chief Justice John Roberts defended the court's legitimacy Friday and said the court will open to the public when it resumes in October. File photo by Erin Schaff/UPI

Sept. 11 (UPI) — In his first public comments since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe vs. Wade, Chief Justice John Roberts defended the court’s legitimacy, saying that its job is to interpret the Constitution.

Roberts, while speaking to an audience of judges attending the 10th Circuit Bench and Bar Conference in Colorado, also said that while all of the court’s opinions are open to criticism, disagreeing with a decision should not lead to questioning the court’s legitimacy.

“You don’t want the political branches telling you what the law is. And you don’t want public opinion to be the guide of what the appropriate decision is,” Roberts said, according to the Washington Post. “Yes, all of our opinions are open to criticism. In fact, our members do a great job of criticizing some opinions from time to time. But simply because people disagree with an opinion is not a basis for criticizing the legitimacy of the court.”

The Supreme Court’s June 24 ruling in Dobbs vs. Jackson, which overturned Roe vs. Wade, sparked protests.

Roberts said it was difficult to come to work every day with increased security measures. However, he said that the public will be allowed to return and attend arguments beginning next term.

“It was gut-wrenching every morning to drive into a Supreme Court with barricades around it,” Roberts said. “When we take the bench the first Monday in October at 10 a.m., the public will be there to watch us.”

Earlier at the same conference Justice Neil Gorsuch said that the court’s investigation into the leak of the opinion that overruled Roe could be completed soon.

“Improper efforts to influence judicial decision-making, from whatever side, from whomever, are a threat to the judicial decision-making process and inhibit our capacity to communicate with one another,” Gorsuch said.

Roberts had announced an investigation into the leak, which would be by an internal committee.

“That committee has been busy and we’re looking forward to their report, I hope soon,” Gorsuch said.


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