Sep 10, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Chief Justice Roberts defends SCOTUS' legitimacy ahead of new term

John Roberts, chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, center, attends the State of the Union.

John Roberts, chief justice of the Supreme Court, attends State of the Union. Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Chief Justice John Roberts defended the Supreme Court in his first public comments since SCOTUS reversed Roe v. Wade, saying the court should not bend to the wills of the people or political parties.

Why it matters: The comments come days after Vice President Kamala Harris called the Supreme Court "an activist court" that took away a "constitutional right" with the Roe v. Wade decision.

Details: Roberts said the court can face criticism, but "simply because people disagree with opinions, is not a basis for questioning the legitimacy of the court," CNN reports.

  • He said the Supreme Court is meant to interpret the U.S. Constitution and should not bend to public opinion or political parties.
  • “If the court doesn’t retain its legitimate function of interpreting the constitution, I’m not sure who would take up that mantle," Roberts said, per the Associated Press.
  • "You don’t want the political branches telling you what the law is, and you don’t want public opinion to be the guide about what the appropriate decision is,” Roberts said

Roberts made the comments to judges at the 10th Circuit Bench and Bar Conference in Colorado Springs, Colorado, on Friday, according to CNN. Justice Neil Gorsuch also attended the event.

The big picture: The Supreme Court plans to reopen its oral arguments to the public after shutting its doors during the COVID-19 pandemic, Politico reports.

  • The next term, scheduled to begin Oct. 3, may be as contentious as this past term with potential rulings on religion and guns.

Go deeper: Supreme Court's next term could be just as contentious

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