The Daily

Watch Their Feet

All that you’ve loved is all you own

Tom Waits

There’s a saying that all you need to determine someone’s priorities is to see their budget. The judicial corollary to that is majority opinions. Don’t tell me what you’re for in an opinion you write for the dissent, tell me in an opinion where your words count. In the case of Chief Justice Roberts, who wrote the opinion dismantling Congress’ sixty-year-old statutory voter protections in Shelby County (theorizing that the voting rights act was out of date and no longer necessary), there’s a bone he’d like to throw people lobbing “I told you so”‘s at the Supreme Court after more than thirty states have reverted to Reconstruction Era voter suppression tactics. Of course, he’s acknowledging this in a dissenting opinion that won’t do anything to repair the mess he made. Writing for the majority, Chief Justice Roberts wrote in Shelby that Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act was unconstitutional – while he also gutted Section 5 – because the standards by which states are judged are “based on decades-old data and eradicated practices.”

Times appear to have changed again (in only eight years), but unfortunately, Chief Justice Roberts is writing for the dissent on the issue now. You can’t ask him which opinion he prefers … because he won’t talk about it. He and his colleagues only do that for paid audiences behind closed doors blocking out the press. See, Justice Gorsuch’s secret Federalist Society appearance. For me, I’ll assume he meant what he said when he wrote for the Shelby majority.

If you care, here is a link to Chief Justice Roberts pretending he didn’t write Shelby in a new dissenting opinion.

John Roberts Suggests Some Kind Of Voting Rights ‘Preclearance’ Like The One He Personally Destroyed