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Chief Justice John Roberts is in a precarious position. Appointed by George W. Bush as a conservative, he has embraced his role as Chief Justice to the chagrin of conservatives. Roberts often puts his stewardship of the Court above ideological concerns. If he can slow down the development of case law, split decisions, and otherwise make the Court seem non-political, he does so.
Roberts and his wife are pro-life. His wife actually had been a prominent pro-life activist and lawyer before Roberts joined the Court. When Roberts became Chief Justice, his wife had to step back and became a legal recruiter.
Though Roberts has tried to steer the Court clear of partisanship, his actions often make the Court seem more political. His splitting the baby Obamacare decision in 2012 seemed to be a too clever by-half approach to providing Obamacare an Achilles heel a future President Romney could use to reform it without the Court explicitly finding it unconstitutional.
His decisions against Trump resorted to process following, lecturing the President he could do certain things from DACA repeal to census questions if only he followed a particular process — handing wins to the left while not precluding the right from wins in the future.
Roberts, whether you or I agree or not, sees his role as being the leader of the third branch of government, and he seems to take it quite seriously.
But the left will show no grace to Roberts because they know where his leanings are even as he tried another split-the-baby approach with the Dobbs decision.
So, like with Clarence Thomas, they’re coming for Roberts via his wife.
Multiple news outlets report that Roberts’ wife makes money as a legal recruiter, including law firms that do business before the Court.
It is silly to think that Mrs. Roberts is somehow using influence to shape the Court by putting people into law firms. But the left will not let reason stand in the way of a good attack.
A legal recruiting firm fired 66-year-old lawyer Kendall Price in 2013. He sued the firm and Mrs. Roberts over his dismissal. He has now, in the New York Times report of the matter, “raised concerns that [Mrs. Roberts’] recruiting work poses potential ethics issues for the chief justice. Seeking an inquiry, the ex-colleague has provided records to the Justice Department and Congress indicating Mrs. Roberts has been paid millions of dollars in commissions for placing lawyers at firms — some of which have business before the Supreme Court, according to a letter obtained by The New York Times.”
Democrats are pouncing on this to raise questions about the Chief Justice and his wife. For her part, Mrs. Roberts says she “handled conflicts on a case-by-case basis, avoiding matters with any connection to her husband’s job and refraining from working with lawyers who had active Supreme Court cases.”
This whole business and the media rush to crucify both Chief Justice and Mrs. Roberts smells like a partisan hit job based on the sour grapes of a former colleague who got fired. Conservatives may not view Roberts as one of them, but progressives view Roberts as very much one of the six conservative Justices they will gladly ruin if given the chance.
For Chief Justice Roberts, he should note that no matter how many case babies he splits to preserve the integrity of the Court and keep it above the fray, he’s going to be viewed as an enemy by the left.