Supreme Court Politics: Roberts is Right and House Democrats are Wrong

Supreme Court decisions are not based on whether a Republican or Democrat President appointed the Justice. Chief Justice John Roberts made that clear in his statements in a recent Washington Post article entitled “Chief justice tries to assure the Supreme Court is apolitical, but term’s biggest cases present partisan challenges:

“We do not sit on opposite sides of an aisle, we do not caucus in separate rooms, we do not serve one party or one interest, we serve one nation,” Roberts told an audience at the University of Minnesota in October.

He repeated the message at Belmont University in Nashville in February. “People need to know we’re not doing politics,” he said.

Proof of that sentiment was made evident today in a decision on redistricting

The justices ruled that the Republican-controlled [Virginia] House of Delegates lacked the authority to challenge a federal district court decision striking down the maps after the state's Democratic attorney general refused to do so.

The decision was written by Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who was joined by two conservative and two liberal colleagues. Associate Justice Samuel Alito dissented and was joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justices Stephen Breyer and Brett Kavanaugh.

While the decision is disappointing, it was certainly not partisan. It's also worth noting that Republicans who were upset by the decision are still remaining respectful of the Court. Meanwhile, Democrats and liberals are trying to both undermine the court and pressure it into decisions by holding Executive Branch officials in contempt.  As Kim Strassell wrote in the Wall Street Journal:

It’s tempting to think the House Oversight Committee’s vote this week to hold two Trump cabinet secretaries in contempt is just the latest showdown over documents and “obstruction.” It’s not. This one is all about the Supreme Court. . . .

When the Census Bureau announced last year that it would add the question, liberal attorneys general and advocacy groups rushed to sue and won some lower-court rulings. But in April the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Department of Commerce v. New York. The court’s conservatives seemed to take the view that the Commerce Department, which oversees the census, has broad authority over questions.

Liberals have been conducting a court lobbying/intimidation campaign ever since. Only a few weeks ago, they went to a lower court with “new” evidence—a 2015 study by a deceased GOP consultant—that they claim shows the citizenship question was a Republican plot to take over the House. Democrats suggested that the Supreme Court would lose its “legitimacy” if it rules in the administration’s favor.

Mr. Cummings is now flanking this effort. He insists this is about oversight, but one of his own committee members unhelpfully acknowledged in March that the committee demands were about trying to find a smoking gun to aid the litigation. Rep. Jimmy Gomez of California told NPR in March he hoped testimony from Mr. Ross “reveals something that the courts can use.” Unfortunately for Democrats, my congressional sources tell me none of the documents or interviews have revealed anything shady.

Chief Justice John Roberts is right.  The Court is not and should not be Republican or Democrat.  That said, Elijah Cummings is wrong.  The Court should do its job independently, despite House Democrats playing the worst kind of politics to influence it.