When Judges Defy the Supreme Court
The chief justice faces a time of great testing, both of himself and of the institution he heads, as the lower courts move rapidly even to his right.
By Linda Greenhouse, Contributing Opinion Writer
Feb. 14, 2019
No, I wasn’t surprised last week, as most people apparently were, when Chief Justice John Roberts cast the deciding fifth vote to preserve access to abortion in Louisiana for at least a little while longer. In fact, I had predicted it (and I have witnesses).
Why? Not because I think the chief justice has developed a soft spot in his heart for the right to abortion. He has not. Not because he wants to minimize the Supreme Court’s role as a combatant in the culture wars. I think he does, but that’s not the point.
Rather, circumstances compelled the chief justice to stand up to a stunning act of judicial defiance.