Tags: john roberts | brett kavanaugh | judicial | independence

John Roberts Addresses Brett Kavanaugh Controversy

supreme court chief justice john Roberts at swearing in of associate justice brett kavanaugh
Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts attends the ceremonial swearing in of Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh in the East Room of the White House on Oct. 8, 2018, in Washington, DC. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

By    |   Wednesday, 17 October 2018 02:16 PM

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts attempted to distance the court from divisiveness surrounding the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh during an appearance at the University of Minnesota Law School on Tuesday.

Roberts addressed "the contentious events in Washington of recent weeks" and stressed the importance of judicial independence, CNN reported.

Roberts said he had "great respect" for public officials, who speak for the people, but said the courts must be "very different."

"We do not speak for the people, but we speak for the Constitution," he said. "Our role is very clear. We are to interpret the constitution and laws of the United States and ensure that the political branches act within them. That job obviously requires independence from the political branches."

He cited Supreme Court rulings made possible by judicial independence that may have been considered politically unpopular at the time, including rulings to bar segregated public schools, uphold the right of students not to salute the flag, and rein in presidential power, Politico noted.

"The court has from time to time erred and erred greatly, but when it has, it has been because the court yielded to political pressure," Roberts said, citing a 1944 decision to uphold the internment of Japanese-American citizens during World War II.

Without directly mentioning Kavanaugh, Roberts cited his "newest colleague's" assertion that the court does "not serve one party or one interest, but we serve one nation."

Justices Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor also have stressed the importance of judicial independence, The HuffPost noted.

"We have to rise above partisanship and our personal relationships," Sotomayor said at a recent Princeton University event. "We have to treat each other with respect and dignity and a sense of amicability that the rest of the world doesn’t often share."

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TheWire
Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts stressed the need for judicial independence during an appearance at the University of Minnesota Law School on Tuesday, marking the first time he has spoken publicly about the divisive confirmation of Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
john roberts, brett kavanaugh, judicial, independence
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2018-16-17
Wednesday, 17 October 2018 02:16 PM
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