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Vice President Mike Pence called out Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts as a “disappointment” after his recent rulings against the Trump administration.
The vice president’s rare but direct rebuke of Roberts for siding with liberals came during a discussion with Christian Broadcast Network’s David Brody on recent cases before the Supreme Court in which the top judge has ruled against the public policy views of President Donald Trump.
“Are you scratching your head a little bit on John Roberts?” Brody asked Pence, noting the “track record” of conservatives when it comes to Supreme Court judges.
Roberts, who was appointed by former President George W. Bush in 2005, has sided with the high court’s four liberal justices in a Louisiana abortion case and a Nevada church case. In direct opposition to Trump, the chief justice has also voted against ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and voted in favor of preserving health protections for transgender people as well as upholding the Affordable Care Act.
“Look, we have great respect for the institution of the Supreme Court of the United States,” Pence told Brody.
“But Chief Justice Roberts has been a disappointment to conservatives,” he added. “Whether it be the Obamacare decision or whether it be a slate of recent decisions all the way through Calvary Chapel.”
Roberts was the swing vote in a 5-4 ruling on Nevada’s Calvary chapel Dayton Valley case in which the church argued against the state government’s attempt to enforce a cap on religious service attendance.
“I think several cases out of the Supreme Court are a reminder of just how important this election is for the future of the Supreme Court,” Pence continued.
“We remember the issue back in 2016, which I believe loomed large in voters’ decisions between Hillary Clinton and the man who became president of the United States. Some people thought it wouldn’t be this big of an issue these days, but I think that’s all changed,” he said.
Roberts joined the liberals in a 5-4 ruling back in June striking down a Louisiana abortion law in what Pence said was “a wake-up call for pro-life voters around the country who understand in a very real sense that the destiny of the Supreme Court is on the ballot in 2020.”
The Supreme Court chief justice, who also presided over Trump’s Senate impeachment, has often sided with the administration, however. At the start of the president’s first term, Roberts upheld the travel ban and also backed Trump’s attempt to use U.S. Military funds for the construction of a wall on the southern border. Roberts also sided with the Trump administration last year when the court ruled that immigrants with criminal records could be detained while awaiting deportation.
But his recent decisions have drawn the ire of the president and Republicans as well as raising eyebrows among others. Fox Business host Lou Dobbs, who has held nothing back in his criticism of the high court, declared that Roberts “has lost his mind” back in June when he called out the “tortured reasoning” of the judge and the court to rule against rescinding DACA.
“It looks like the margin for his intellectual capacity diminishes each time he goes with the liberals,” Dobbs said at the time.
Even CNN’s Jeffrey Toobin was shocked by Roberts’ stands against the administration’s stances, saying in June that “Roberts may not be who we thought he was.”
“Something is going on with John Roberts,” Toobin said during a panel discussion in June. “John Roberts has sided with the liberals now in three of the biggest cases of the year.”
The vice president also noted in his CBN interview that, just as he did in 2016 when he was campaigning for president, Trump will be releasing a list of potential Supreme Court nominees. The president has nominated two Supreme Court justices, Neil M. Gorsuch and Brett M. Kavanaugh, during his term.
“He did that in 2016. He kept his word. He’s going to do that in the fall of 2020,” Pence said. “And in the next four years, he’ll keep his word and appoint more principled conservatives to our courts.”
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