Aug 6, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Pence calls Chief Justice John Roberts a "disappointment"

Combination images of Vice President Mike Pence and Chief Justice John Roberts.
Combination images of Vice President Mike Pence and Chief Justice John Roberts. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images/I Senate Television via Getty Images

Vice President Pence told the Christian Broadcast Network in an interview to be broadcast Thursday that Chief Justice John Roberts "has been a disappointment to conservatives."

The state of play: The conservative Roberts has this year sided with the Supreme Court's more liberal justices on abortion, LGBTQ discrimination and the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

  • Roberts wrote last month's ruling permitting Manhattan prosecutors to subpoena Trump’s taxes and other financial records.

What he's saying: In the interview with the network's David Brody, Pence described Roberts' joining the more liberal justices to strike down abortion restrictions in Louisiana in June as "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."

  • "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 said.

Of note: Roberts was appointed by former President George W. Bush. In November 2018, the chief justice issued a rare public critique on President Trump, who said an "Obama judge" was to blame for temporarily halting his asylum ban.

  • "We do not have Obama judges or Trump judges, Bush judges or Clinton judges," Roberts said, per AP. "What we have is an extraordinary group of dedicated judges doing their level best to do equal right to those appearing before them."

The big picture: Pence's comments come just a day after he attacked New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) on Fox News' "The Ingraham Angle."

  • "[O]ur hearts grieve for the fact that one in five of all of the American lives ... lost in the coronavirus pandemic were lost in the state of New York. And some of that was because of poor decisions by the state and by Gov. Cuomo."
  • "Gov. Cuomo has been on again, off again," Pence added. "He's complimented the administration's response, and then he pivots to criticism. I think people see through that."

Go deeper: John Roberts' long game

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