Will Roberts Have To Break A Tie Over Witnesses? | SCOTUS Moving Slower Than Usual This Term
January 31, 2020
AN UNLIKELY OUTCOME|
Today in the impeachment trial, senators will vote on whether to call new witnesses who claim to have first-hand accounts of PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP pressuring Ukraine to launch investigations for his own political benefit. Republicans are trying to block any new evidence, and recent reports signal that they could have the votes to make it happen. However, there is an outside chance that the senators will deadlock over whether to call witnesses. That would mean CHIEF JUSTICE JOHN ROBERTS would have to break the tie.
IN SCOTUS WE TRUST?|
During the questioning period yesterday at the impeachment trial, CHIEF JUSTICE JOHN ROBERTS had to read aloud a question from Democratic presidential candidate, ELIZABETH WARREN, which took aim directly at the chief justice’s soft spot. He read, “At a time when large majorities of Americans have lost faith in government, does the fact that the chief justice is presiding over an impeachment trial in which Republican senators have thus far refused to allow witnesses or evidence contribute to the loss of legitimacy of the chief justice, the Supreme Court, and the Constitution?”
SLOW AND STEADY|
Ariane de Vogue with CNN reports that it’s slow-going at the Supreme Court this year. “So far, as the midway point of the term approaches, the public has been left with hardly any clues concerning the direction of the court. That’s because the justices appear to be moving more slowly than in recent years, having issued only four opinions since October — a 50% decrease from this time last year.” She notes that it’s CHIEF JUSTICE JOHN ROBERTS who will often point to the bronze tortoises at the base of the court’s exterior lampposts as symbols of the judiciary’s pace. Slow and steady indeed.
IF ONLY WE COULD SEE|
Last night, JUSTICE ELENA KAGAN was honored with the New York State Bar Association’s Gold Medal. She spoke before an audience of nearly 1,000 at the Natural History Museum about what goes on during the justices’ secret conferences where they debate the merits of cases and decide how they will vote. She said, “Sometimes we go around the table and people are where they are and I know nothing is going to change and we just keep talking and we just keep annoying each other…I continue to think that, if people could see it, they would be really proud of the institution, that the institution works really well, that people engage with each other on a very high plane, that there is really good and substantive conversation, that there is never voices raised, there’s never any anger.” Tom McParland with The New York Law Journal reports.