Washington Post: Opinion | The tragedy of John Roberts

Washington Post

On the final day of oral arguments last term, the chief justice’s voice cracked with emotion as he bade farewell to the retiring Justice Stephen G. Breyer. It was a striking moment for the normally buttoned-up John G. Roberts Jr., and one that seemed to signify more than sorrow at the departure of a longtime colleague. It is not far-fetched to imagine that Roberts was mourning the decisive end of his vision of presiding over an institution seen as operating above the partisan fray.

“He’s just less relevant now,” said Mike Davis, who heads the conservative Article III Project and worked to confirm President Donald Trump’s judicial nominees. With three appointments to the court, he said, “Trump transformed the 5-to-4 John Roberts court into the 5-to-4 Clarence Thomas court, meaning it’s more likely the court’s just going to follow the law and not be concerned about the political fallout.”

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