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John Roberts wanted to create a conservative Supreme Court — now he's losing control of it: analysis
On Tuesday, MSNBC published an analysis of how Chief Justice John Roberts is "losing control" of the conservative legal project that he helped spearhead.
"Essentially, Roberts advanced a conservative institutionalism that kept the court moving to the right while allowing it to bend to more progressive results when necessary to help keep the court's institutional integrity intact," wrote Chris Geidner. "In the Trump era, Roberts continued to walk this conservative institutionalist tightrope, seeking to keep the court solidly on the right, but pushing back at points on some of former President Donald Trump's most overreaching efforts, usually on technical grounds. But then, with Trump's bid for re-election less than two months away, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died and then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, with Trump's help, quickly filled the seat. Now Roberts may be losing control of his creation."
One of the key ways this is visible, noted Geidner, is in COVID-19 restrictions. The court's far-right majority has begun consistently knocking down public health restrictions on religious gatherings using First Amendment grounds, even when the restrictions are already about to end and even when they are similar to those imposed on secular businesses — in defiance of Roberts, who has consistently rejected these decisions.
Another sign of Roberts' failure is in the reality that progressive activists are done acknowledging the court's legitimacy, wrote Geidner — as seen in the new Democratic legislation that would add four seats to the body.
"After decades of judicial wars being fought on conservatives' ground and terms, there is now at least a part of this fight being held on progressives' ground and terms (a moment that has, itself, benefited from the work of advocates during the Trump era and before to change this long-term imbalance)," wrote Geidner. "That change, in turn, has consequences for the other branches of government."
"As debates over court expansion continue, they will, inevitably, include discussions of the legitimacy of the court itself. This, for Roberts, is the worst of all worlds," concluded Geidner. "Had liberals moved on such a front years ago, it likely would have backfired in a way that reinforced — or even solidified — Roberts' conservative institutionalism. Now, however, with Roberts himself even acknowledging that his conservative colleagues are at times going too far, progressives' arguments have an unexpected, if incomplete, boost from a very unexpected corner."
You can read more here.
‘Riding bikes while Black’: Cops under fire after swarming teens over lack of bicycle 'license tags'
Police officers in Perth Amboy, New Jersey are under fire after video clips of them appearing to harass a small group of Black teens who were riding their bikes through town went viral. Perth Amboy has a law requiring a bicycle "license tag" but the teens say they live in Edison, and were just riding home.
At one point six police cars were involved. The officers ordered the teens off the bikes, confiscated at least one, and arrested one teen who was arguing they shouldn't have to give up their bikes.
We can’t even ride bikes now... I’m not surprised. I’m just angry. https://t.co/xcAR8zmnuP— ⁶Kid (@⁶Kid)1618810930.0
Later, at the police station, one officer told the teen he was lucky to get his bike back, asking if he had the purchase receipt for the bike, and if it is registered with them. The officer also says the teens were told "to stay on the sidewalk," but they were also told to stay on the road and ride with traffic. She says they did all this for their safety.
Here’s the explanation from a Perth Amboy police officer: https://t.co/8T48DMEgoA— philip lewis (@philip lewis)1618921255.0
Part of Perth Amboy's extensive bicycle law reads: "An application for a license to own and operate a bicycle shall be made to the Chief of Police in writing upon a form approved by the City Council. Upon approval of an application, the Chief of Police shall provide, at the expense of the city, a proper license tag which shall be attached to the frame of the bicycle in a substantial manner. The removal of such tag, except by proper authority, shall be a violation of this chapter. A license fee of fifty cents ($0.50) shall be charged per year for each bicycle. Such license shall be issued as of the calendar year and shall be effective for such period."
It also bans "fancy riding":
"The rider of a bicycle shall not allow it to proceed in a street by inertia momentum, with his feet removed from the pedals, nor remove both hands from the handlebars while riding the bicycle, nor practice any trick or fancy riding in a street or carry another person upon the bicycle."
Many are outraged:
Riding bikes while black is a crime in Perth Amboy https://t.co/0v6znJ4SkO— Duty To Warn 🔉 (@Duty To Warn 🔉)1618918105.0
This is Perth Amboy, NJ. Are the police really arresting kids over bike registrations? Does it really require this… https://t.co/9fDcKzMJgr— Amol Sinha (@Amol Sinha)1618889114.0
Cops in Perth Amboy, NJ arrest a Black teenager for no reason. They let him go later in the day and gave all the bi… https://t.co/EUCwnbSfZ2— Fifty Shades of Whey (@Fifty Shades of Whey)1618894064.0
Then she says she could be a real asshole and confiscate the other youths' bikes that are not registered. Perth Amb… https://t.co/wrdTr0GrSQ— sahra (@sahra)1618887533.0
I broke this law last summer when I stopped in Perth Amboy's waterfront ice cream shop on my ride back from New Bru… https://t.co/Fro7MGtE88— Brian Hedden (@Brian Hedden)1618922981.0
As COVID-19 vaccines continue to be administered throughout the United States, supporters of former president Donald Trump have reportedly been hesitant to take the vaccine, raising questions about what Trump could have done more to ease people's fears about the jab.
According to POLITICO, Trump's failure to do so is causing frustration among some of his former aides and health officials.
"If he spent the last 90 days being the voice — and taking credit because he deserved to for the vaccine — and helping get as many Americans get vaccinated as he could, he would be remembered for that," said a former senior administration official speaking to POLITICO. "Honestly, I think if he was out on the road and celebrating his accomplishments and trying to get people vaccinated he wouldn't have been in the mindset that led to [Capitol riots on] January 6."
But some members of Trump's inner circle, such as Kellyanne Conway, are "bristling at the notion that he has been anything other than engaged in promoting vaccination," Politico reported.
While an effort to get Trump to speak out on the efficacy of vaccines has been ongoing, his focus has been elsewhere -- like ranting about a "rigged" 2020 election. "That wasn't how it was supposed to go, according to a dozen former officials who served in the White House or health-related federal agencies," POLITICO's Joanne Kenen and Meridith McGraw write. "They planned on Trump being the vaccine's salesman-in-chief, viewing it as a natural role for a president who cut his teeth hawking real estate and starring on TV."
Instead, Trump and former First Lady Melania got the jab in secret -- it was so secret that some of his top aides learned about it after he left office.
Read the full report over at POLITICO.
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