Chief Justice Roberts, President Trump, Justice Roberts discussed on The Frame
One, eh? I'm Jen White in Washington. It's been quite the term for the Supreme Court, and it's not done yet. In normal circumstances. The justices would have packed up for the summer by now. But in the days ahead, we can expect some blockbuster decisions covering birth control, religious rites and the president's efforts to keep his financial records private. Taken together. These final opinions could rewrite a narrative that expected the court to be more conservative after the addition of two Trump nominees Joining us is the president of the National Constitution Center Jeff Rosen, Jeff, It's great to have you back. It's great to be here. So let's start with one of the rulings. The court just made one involving faithless electors. Give us the background on this case. So the question in the faithless electors case is whether states can penalize electors who vote for people other than those who are pledged to vote for And the court unanimously said Yes, it's a striking opinion, not so much for the result because it was unanimous but for the playfulness of the prose, justice Kagan wrote the majority opinion and she's describing the election of 17 96 when John Adams comes in first and Jefferson second, and they both become president and vice president. And she says, when I think of this a spotter for a new season of veep, so there's a kind of playfulness to the decision, which suggested she said, Jen, and it's such an honor by the way to your on your first day on the on the show that for the decisions that are coming down The big question is whether teach justice Roberts will continue to create these bipartisan majorities that were so striking in that case involving LGBTQ rights and also in his really important decision about abortion as well and for people who may be less familiar with those cases just remind us what the decisions were there. Sure, just just recently. The court in a 16 re decision said that the title seven of the Civil Rights Act of 1960 for which forbids discrimination because of sex includes discrimination because of transgender status or sexual orientation, who was written by Justin score a schedule of huge implications for the future of LGBT rights. Some people think it's even More important than the marriage equality decision in terms of its practical effect, and the fact that was written by a conservative appointee, Justice Gorsuch and joined by Chief Justice Roberts was really significant. And then just last week The court by a 5 to 4 decision with Chief Justice Roberts joining the Liberals said that Louisiana could not impose admitting privileges on doctor's books. Were they perform abortions. In doing so the chief justice voted to affirm a decision. 2016 that he had originally disagreed with showing that he really cares about precedent. And that's very important because it signals that he might be less likely to overturn Roe v. Wade than many people thought. And and it's and then, of course, just two weeks ago, the chief joined the Liberals in holding that President Trump could not repeal Dhaka, the Dreamers program by executive order. So, as you said, the huge question about whether, at the end of this very significant term The court will be less conservative them people thought and if it is, it's largely due to the efforts of Chief Justice. Roberts, who's determined to maintain a nonpartisan legitimacy of the Supreme Court at a time when Congress and the president and the country of the whole are more polarized than any time since the civil war, well, looking at the ruling around faithless electors, as you said this was a unanimous ruling. That's pretty rare. I mean, what can we extrapolate from the fact that all the justices agreed Well, uh, it is rare, and it suggests both. The justices thought case wasn't that close, Although there was an interesting concurrence by Justice Thomas joined by Justice Gorsuch, who would have parsed the result a little bit differently, and said that on ly States that imposed the find as a condition of appointment can have their pleasures. Upheld, but that legalism aside, it suggests the chief justice Roberts cares deeply about unanimity, he said, when he was first appointed chief back in 2006 that he thought The court should speak unanimously as often as possible with narrow, unanimous opinions that avoided sweeping constitutional rulings because he thought that was good for nonpartisan legitimacy. And he said he was gonna make that his mission as chief justice. Often, of course, the court has fallen short of that. But what's so significant about this term is that we're seeing more of that than ever both in unanimous decisions like this in decisions not to hear a certain cases like the Second Amendment cases of the Supreme Court turned away broadly, the chief justice seems to not want to get involved in Politics. He also pushed till past the election. Another case about the president's tax returns, so to the degree that he can avoid interjecting, according to the center of Electoral politics, he's going to do that. And this is just one dramatic example of that goal. Well, another thing that sort of out of the ordinary is the fact that the court is sitting so late into it's summer term. Why is this happening? Because of the coded crisis. The court for the first time in history, both met through telephone aural arguments and also broadcast those arguments live and it was so exciting to hear the arguments live to hear. The justices asked questions in order of seniority rather than just jumping in and out as they usually do here, Justice Thomas speak frequently and vigorously. And as a result of that the schedule just got impact Scratch. And although the court historically has always ended its term by the end of June because of that new schedule there into July, did they manned up this week or they could even go into the following week. But as you said, a bunch of the biggest decisions of the term still have to be decided, including those involving Religious exemption for contraception in health care on the religious exemption from anti discrimination, employment laws, and also the trump subpoena cases. Measures and Vance run us through some of the specifics around each of those cases..