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Don’t be fooled by recent rulings: ‘Deeply conservative’ John Roberts has a long game

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- Commentary

In the right-wing media, U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts is being slammed as a traitor to the conservative cause because of his recent rulings on a Louisiana abortion law, LGBTQ rights in the workplace and the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Many far-right pundits see the 65-year-old Roberts, who was nominated by President George W. Bush in 2005, as a traitor to the conservative cause. But journalist Sam Baker, in a June 10 article for Axios, stresses that Roberts — despite having some nuance — is still decidedly right-wing in his judicial philosophy.

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“Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts is not the revolutionary that conservative activists want him to be,” Baker explains. “He moves slower than they want, sides with liberals more than they want and trims his sails in ways they find maddening. But he is still deeply and unmistakably conservative, pulling the law to the right — at his own pace and in his own image.”

Roberts’ critics on the far right, according to Baker, fail to see the big picture.

“Over the past few weeks,” Baker observes, “Roberts sided with the Court’s liberal bloc on abortion, LGBTQ discrimination and DACA. And he wrote Thursday’s 7-2 ruling that said Manhattan prosecutors can subpoena (President Donald) Trump’s taxes and other financial records. Most of those rulings were foreseeable and left conservatives with the same bitter aftertaste they’ve felt before — when Roberts upheld the Affordable Care Act, for example, or blocked a citizenship question from the 2020 census.”

But none of that, Baker stresses, means that Roberts is “turning into a liberal.” Jonathan Adler, a conservative legal professor at Case Western Reserve University, told Axios that Roberts is a “conservative minimalist” who operates on an “anti-disruption principle.” In other words, Roberts tries to avoid striking down federal laws when he believes it is unnecessary.

Noting how conservative Roberts’ overall record has been, Baker notes, “There are many areas where Roberts is not particularly reserved — most notably, voting rights. He led the Court’s rulings striking down the heart of the Voting Rights Act, upholding partisan gerrymandering. He has also consistently voted to end existing affirmative action programs in schools. And even the decision conservatives hated the most — upholding the ACA — was embedded with firmly conservative legal holdings on Congress’ power to regulate commerce, which both sides agree will thwart liberal policies in the future.”

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Elizabeth Wydra, president of the liberal Constitutional Accountability Center, shares Baker’s view that Roberts, all things considered, is quite conservative in his outlook.

Wydra told Axios, “I think that the rulings we’ve seen from him where he has disappointed conservative observers are instances where he just hasn’t gotten on the train to Crazytown…. To a certain extent, I do take comfort in the fact that he wants to ensure that the public views the court as a legitimate.


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2020 Election

Trump’s latest attack on Joe Biden is stunningly delusional — even for him

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Few ever accuse President Donald Trump of subtlety. But in a new speech in Cleveland on Thursday, he let loose with a particularly wild rant against his Democratic opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden, that was over-the-top, even for him.

It’s worth just quoting in full:

He’s following the radical left agenda. Take away your guns. Destroy your Second Amendment. No religion! No anything! Hurt the Bible! Hurt God! He’s against God! He’s against guns! He’s against energy, our kind of energy. Uh, I don’t think he’s going to do too well in Ohio.

Many people pointed out that there’s much more evidence that Biden is a committed Christian than there is for Trump. But almost that seems to miss several key points about how wild this is:

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Angst-ridden Republicans should have acted when Trump put his reelection above national security concerns: conservative columnist

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Writing in the Washington Post this Thursday, columnist Jennifer Rubin says that Senate Republicans are in serious trouble, especially in light of the stimulus bill they rolled out this week.

According to Rubin, the Senate GOP is in dire straits because "they have allowed the anti-government, anti-science Trump sycophants to disclaim any interest in the bill, thereby handing the reins to Democrats."

Rubin writes that some Republicans saying they want to see essential workers being taken care of in the bill are speaking up too late. "If only they they had some power in February to remove the unfit and corrupt president from office, instead of leaving him there to purge witnesses from his administration, seek vengeance on foes, force out inspectors general and botch the response to the coronavirus," Rubin writes.

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2020 Election

Facebook removes network of fake accounts that posed as Trump supporters

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Facebook said Thursday it took down accounts running a deceptive campaign out of Romania pretending to be Americans supporting US President Donald Trump ahead of the coming election.

The leading online social network removed 35 Facebook accounts, three pages, and 88 Instagram accounts as part of an ongoing fight against "coordinated inauthentic behavior," according to security policy head Nathaniel Gleicher.

"The people behind this network used fake accounts to pose as Americans, amplify and comment on their own content, and manage pages including some posing as President Trump fan pages," Gleicher said.

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