Jan 1, 2020

Chief Justice Roberts says Americans may "take democracy for granted"

Chief Justice John Roberts in 2017. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts warned that Americans may "take democracy for granted" in his annual year-end message published Tuesday.

"[W]e have come to take democracy for granted, and civic education has fallen by the wayside. In our age, when social media can instantly spread rumor and false information on a grand scale, the public’s need to understand our government, and the protections it provides, is ever more vital."

Why it matters: The statement about the power of online misinformation, coupled with Roberts' assertion of the federal judiciary's independence throughout the message, reads as a mission statement ahead of President Trump's Senate impeachment trial — over which the chief justice will preside.

  • "We should reflect on our duty to judge without fear or favor, deciding each matter with humility, integrity, and dispatch."
  • "As the New Year begins, and we turn to the tasks before us, we should each resolve to do our best to maintain the public’s trust that we are faithfully discharging our solemn obligation to equal justice under law.”

Flashback: Roberts and Trump disagreed about the independence of the federal judiciary back in 2018 after the president criticized judges who ruled against his administration, calling them "Obama judges."

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Court rules Trump can use military funds for border wall

President Trump inspects border wall prototypes in San Diego in 2018. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

A Louisiana federal appeals court on Wednesday ruled in favor of President Trump's plan to divert $3.6 billion from military projects to build the border wall.

Why it matters: The New Orleans U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals' overturning of a Texas judge's order last month that blocked the plan is a victory for Trump, who's faced legal challenges from several groups and states.

Go deeperArrowJan 9, 2020

What matters: Trump trial edition

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/Getty Contributor

Yes, we know how this is going to end. But some developments along the way to President Trump’s acquittal will matter more than others and leave a lasting impact long after the trial ends.

The big picture: We’re all going to be flooded with information and distractions over the course of the trial. Here’s what deserves your attention.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Jan 22, 2020

Trump's selective urgency at the Supreme Court

Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

The Trump administration has consistently tried to get controversial cases in front of the Supreme Court as quickly as possible — but not when that might have meant striking down the entire Affordable Care Act before the 2020 election.

Why it matters: Trump’s Justice Department has tried to leapfrog the traditional process far more than its predecessors did, and at least one Supreme Court justice seems to be worried that it’s affecting the court’s work.

Go deeperArrowJan 23, 2020