Front Page writer extraordinaire streiff had an article up earlier regarding Chief Justice John Roberts deciding with the liberals on the Court in upholding Wuhan re-opening procedures in Nevada that affect churches more than they do casinos. In essence, the majority simply upheld the Nevada rules barring houses of worship to no more than 50 people at any one time while casinos and other businesses may reopen at 50% capacity. There is a big difference between 50% and a flat 50 people…period. This decision was released without an “opinion” which is not unusual in these emergency appeals. That fact is the ONLY thing on which one can defend John Roberts.
On its face, neither the directives established by the state (Nevada) nor the Supreme Court failing to issue an injunction against its enforcement- at least until a court can hear the case- makes intuitive sense. So a casino with, for example, a 2,000 person capacity can allow 1,000 people, but if a church had a 2,000 person capacity, they can allow 50 people in. Does something happen in houses of worship that increases the risk of the spread of the virus that does not occur in a casino?
This writer has been to church and he has worked in casinos. I have never seen a person in church spit, urinate, or defecate on the floor, but it happens in casinos. In fact, the likelihood of the spread of the virus is decidedly greater in a casino, restaurant, gym, or movie theater in Nevada than at a church, synagogue or mosque in Nevada…or anywhere.
The dissents noted here correctly point out these inequities in treatment. Further, the Nevada directive is based on money, plain and simple. Gaming revenue accounts for 17.4% of the Nevada budget. This shows the hypocrisy of the powers that be in Nevada: the state makes no money by reopening churches.
The article by streiff points out that a similar ruling out of California is the likely the basis for Roberts siding with the state this time:
At the end of May, it looked like the line may have been drawn in a series of Supreme Court orders that seemed to say that religious freedom could be restricted by administrative fiat so long as the restriction placed upon a Constitutional right did not exceed that placed upon your desire to have clean clothes or buy a gallon of soy. These rulings seem to be more or less codified in a 5-4 decision that recognized the Public Health Exemption to the First Amendment but limited it…Last night, John Roberts had the chance to hold fast to a horribly misguided though at least defensible (if you turned the lights way down and looked at it long enough from just the right angle) ruling. [Emphasis mine, quoting streiff]
And even though we all likely saw through the smokescreen and hypocrisy, it was “at least defensible” since the California guidelines did not delineate between businesses and houses of worship. Roberts, in the Nevada case, seems to believe he is looking at the same guidelines. Hence, he has his precedent upon which to fall back upon. The problem is that such opinions as in the California case have no value in terms of precedent. There is no stare decisis here, end of story.
So what is motivating this sad excuse of a Chief Justice. Was John Roberts this much of a d-bag before Donald Trump was President? One cannot help but to think there is some Trump Derangement Syndrome operational here. He seems to relish poking a stick at the Trump bear while nuancing his stances without going too far. For example, you can allow a question about immigration status on a Census form, but Trump just went about it the wrong way. You cannot pass an immigration law through Executive Order per se and you can get rid of it, but Trump did it the wrong way. This is not Constitutional jurisprudence; this is lecturing Trump that he better, more than any other President, damn well better dot those “i’s” and cross those “t’s” because, by golly, I’ve got the Administrative Procedures Act to bring you to heel.
However, more so, this writer seriously believes that John Roberts rules from the bench like a deer in headlights out of fear. Whether that fear is predicated on someone having something on him, or some twisted sense of preserving the “integrity of the Court,” this writer knows not. Ironically, if the latter, he is destroying the integrity of the Court through his decisions and nit-picking. And when the Court lacks integrity, which is becoming more apparent every year Roberts sits as Chief Justice, then it deserves the scorn it receives.
Roberts is somewhat shrewd in that he sometimes throws conservatives a bone, but notice how he often hides between the robes of other Justices so many times. Notice how he also manages to steer the Court clear of Second Amendment cases letting gun control measures stand. He also has a penchant for avoiding abortion cases letting the practice to continue unabated. This past term the Court took an abortion and gun control case, but the outcomes were pretty much predetermined prior to a brief being filed or an argument heard. In the gun control case, the issue was moot since New York City changed the ordinance as the case made its way through the courts. In the abortion case, it was a rehash of a previously stricken regulation in another state.
It is clear that John Roberts is no conservative whatsoever. Maybe he relishes the role of the “new Anthony Kennedy,” or pivotal vote. But it is clear that he is not motivated by Constitutional principle. And a man without principle likely has something in his past that could be used as a cudgel over his head.
Clarence Thomas was smeared and scandalized and remains so today in the eyes of the Left, yet he has never relented when it came to principle and fights back. A Justice like Thomas (and Alito) have more principle in their pinky finger than Roberts has in the whole of his body. Roberts- yeah, not so much. Even Kavanaugh is proving to be more of a conservative than Roberts (although the jury is still out).
This writer, however, has no sorrow for losers like John Roberts who would rather fold than fight. Nobody really listens to the NeverTrumpers and one should not listen to one dressed in a black robe.
Now somebody please find out who has what on him.