Law & the Courts

Pence Says Chief Justice John Roberts is a ‘Disappointment to Conservatives’

Vice President Mike Pence leads a White House coronavirus task force briefing in Washington, D.C., July 8, 2020. (Carlos Barria/Reuters)

Vice President Mike Pence said Supreme Court chief justice John Roberts is “a disappointment to conservatives” and a reminder of the importance of the upcoming election in determining the future makeup of the Court in a new interview.

“We have great respect for the institution of the Supreme Court of the United States, but chief justice John Roberts has been a disappointment to conservatives, whether it be the Obamacare decision or whether it be a spate of recent decisions all the way through Calvary Chapel,” Pence told Christian Broadcasting Network’s David Brody. 

Pence cited Roberts’s role in upholding the Affordable Care Act and in denying a request from a Nevada church to block COVID attendance restrictions on churches as evidence of his betrayals. Roberts, an appointee of President George W. Bush, also frustrated conservatives in recent weeks with decisions on LGBT workplace discrimination and immigration.

The vice president also expressed frustration at the chief justice’s decision to once again side with liberal justices in striking down a Louisiana law that required doctors working in abortion clinic to have admitting privileges at local hospitals.

“That’s a very modest restriction on abortion providers but a narrow majority in the Supreme Court still said it was unacceptable and I think it’s been a wake-up call for pro-life voters around the country who understand in a very real sense the destiny of the Supreme Court is on the ballot in 2020,” he said.

Pence pointed to President Trump’s recent announcement that he would release another list of judges that he would draw from for any future appointments to the Court, as he did in 2016, as a sign that a Trump reelection would push the Court in a more conservative direction.

“He’s kept his word, he’s going to do that in the fall of 2020 and in the next four years he’ll keep his word and appoint more principled conservatives to our courts,” Pence said.

In his first term Trump appointed two Supreme Court justices — Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh — and last month the Senate confirmed Trump’s 200th federal judicial nominee.

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