Granted, it was not for a full-fledged decision, only placing a stay on a lower court order until that order can be challenged. But this is now the third time that John Roberts has sided with the four liberal judges and against his blindly conservative colleagues. The other two times were his vote to keep ObamaCare in place, and his vote declaring Texas’ abortion law unconstitutional. One or two more of those, and Roberts will already be about even with Anthony Kennedy’s entire judicial body of “swing” votes.
This should give some serious pause to those conservatives who thought that the Supreme Court was just going to be their obedient baby for the next generation.
Roberts is still a conservative, no two ways about it. But I do not think he is the blind ideologue that the other four quite obviously are.
Also, as I have said previously, and I still feel this way, I think Roberts is disgusted by the way Trump has treated the Rule of Law, and those who enforce and adjudicate it. I also think he was personally disgusted by some of the things Kavanaugh said during his confirmation hearing. When Kavanaugh said “what goes around, comes around”, that could not possibly have been a more unjudicial thing to espouse, and I will bet that stuck in Robert’s craw.
Shockingly, Kavanaugh voted with the other conservatives and even gave the minority opinion on this latest ruling. In it, he said that he wanted to let Louisiana’s new abortion law take effect so “we could wait and first see what the effects of the Louisiana law would be”.
Wonderful concept there, Brett. Don’t rule on a case because something is Constitutional or not, just let it go so we can see first what harmful effects it will create.
Update, Feb 9, 2019:
An unfortunate quick footnote to my original editorial. Roberts just proved he is still very much a conservative ideologue by yesterday joining with the other four conservative justices in an incredibly callous and seemingly clearly unconstitutional ruling. They upheld the execution of Alabama death row inmate Domenique Ray. Ray, a Muslim, had been denied having a Muslim Imam present at his execution. Alabama law only allows a Christian minister to be present. The execution was initially stayed but the 5-4 ruling by the Supreme Court allows it to go forth.
I believe it was Justice Sotomayor who wrote a blistering, but very brief, minority opinion, which blasted the ruling. I would very much like to read the majority opinion, if there even is one, which states the justification for upholding a law which appears at least on face, to be blatantly discriminatory based on religion alone