Chief Justice John Roberts recuses from Supreme Court leaks and controversy


It’s one of the most contentious provisions in Supreme Court history, with shocking leak of draft opinion that ultimately overturned half a century of abortion rights, public polls revealing record disapproval of court’s work, justice among justices The court’s legality is sharply divided.

But Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. opted not to address those or any other controversies in his annual “Year-End Report to the Federal Judiciary,” released Saturday. Instead, he focused on the judiciary’s past high marks — a federal district judge’s efforts to enact school desegregation at Little Rock Central High School after the Supreme Court’s landmark 1954 decision. Brown v. Board of Education.

“The law requires every judge to take an oath to perform his or her job without fear or favour, but we must support judges by ensuring their safety,” Roberts wrote in his nine-page report. The justice system cannot and should not live in fear. What happened in Little Rock taught us the importance of the rule of law, not mob rule.”

Roberts thanked Congress for recently passing the Daniel Ander Judicial Security and Privacy Act, named for the son of New Jersey District Judge Esther Salas. Ander was murdered in 2020 when he answered the door to attack the judge.

The legislation allows judges to block certain personal information about themselves and their families from the internet, such as home addresses, some financial information and their spouse’s employment details. It has exceptions for media coverage, but some transparency groups worry that a broad interpretation of the law could thwart the regulator’s efforts.

Roberts also praised “the U.S. Marshals, court security officials, Federal Protective Service officials, Supreme Court Police and their partners” for “working hard to ensure that judges can serve the public in court for the coming year and beyond.”

That’s as close as Roberts can get to today’s comments in his 18th report.The chief justice and other conservative members of the court have seen protesters outside their homes since the draft opinion leaked in May Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Healthin which most courts overturned Roe v Wade Federal guarantees of abortion rights.

A California man faces attempted assassination charges after he was arrested outside Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh’s suburban Maryland home for carrying a weapon and planning to break into the judge’s home.

Roberts announces investigation into draft leak Dobbs The spring opinion, published days later in Politico, called it “a single and egregious breach of trust … that is an affront to the courts and the public servant community that works here.”

He directed Supreme Court Marshal Gail A. Curley to investigate the leak, saying “to the extent that this betrayal of court secrecy is designed to undermine the integrity of our operations, it will not succeed.”

Man accused of threatening to kill Kavanaugh indicted

But Roberts has not mentioned the investigation publicly since. Last summer, Judge Neil M. Gorsuch said the justices were expecting Roberts to report on the work, but nothing was leaked beyond a disagreement between the judges and their staff over attempts to examine cellphone records.

It was just a dispute that swept the court. Several media outlets reported what a former anti-abortion evangelical leader said was an effort to encourage conservative judges to be bold in their decisions about the procedure. Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. denied Rev.’s specific allegations. Rob Schenck told the New York Times that the judge or his wife disclosed to conservative donors the results of a pending 2014 case involving contraceptives and the religious right.

Alito denies early disclosure of 2014 case outcome

Congressional leaders asked the court to investigate, but Roberts, through legal counsel, said there was little to investigate after both Alito and those who allegedly provided him with information denied it.

Congressional Democrats also questioned whether Virginia “Kinney” Thomas’ efforts to encourage state lawmakers and White House officials not to abandon efforts to reverse the results of the 2020 presidential election — reported by The Washington Post and others — should prompt her husband, Clarence Thomas. Judge, recused from litigation related to the issue.

Those lawmakers are asking the courts to develop a more formal code of conduct to deal with such issues.

Three years ago, Justice Elena Kagan told a congressional committee that justices were looking “very seriously” at whether to create a code of judicial conduct that would apply only to the U.S. Supreme Court. But beyond Roberts saying such decisions should be made by the judiciary alone, the chief justice has passed up the opportunity to specify the plan.

Some think the chief justice may discuss such issues again in his annual address, which is traditionally delivered on New Year’s Eve.

Instead, Roberts emphasized the courage of Judge Ronald N. Davis, transferred from North Dakota to preside over the desegregation of Little Rock Central High School over the objections of the Arkansas governor. Oval Forbes.

The bench chaired by Davis will be brought to the Supreme Court in 2023 as part of an exhibit showcasing the Court’s role in school desegregation, particularly the efforts of Thurgood Marshall, who he believes Brown Later as the first black Supreme Court justice.

“The real benches will give visitors the opportunity to travel through time and experience events that took place in Little Rock 65 years ago,” Roberts wrote. history, and Thurgood Marshall’s remarkable service as an advocate before becoming a justice.”

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