Chief Justice Roberts: Scalia, Ginsburg wouldn’t be confirmed today


United States Chief Justice John Roberts told a Nebraska audience he worries the partisanship that grips Washington will spill over onto the Supreme Court.
Roberts said he’s concerned about the other two branches of government.

“They are not getting along very well these days,” Roberts said during a question and answer period at the Nebraska College of Law. “It’s a period of real partisan rancor that, I think, impedes their ability to carry out their functions”

A crowd of about 400 attended the visit of the Chief Justice to the College of Law, located on the East Campus of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Many others, including high schools throughout the state, listened via an Internet stream of the event.

Eighth Circuit United States Court of Appeals Chief Judge William Riley asked Roberts questions during the hour-long session, admitting to the audience that Roberts had seen the questions ahead of time.

Many of the questions elicited advice from the Chief Justice to law school students, some dove into the inner workings of the court.

Roberts’ worries about partisanship emerged when he was asked about challenges that face the judiciary.

Roberts asserted strongly the court isn’t partisan, divided into Republicans and Democrats, though he conceded an intelligent lay observer of the confirmation process might come to a different conclusion.

“And how somebody as imminently qualified as our newest member, Justice (Elena) Kagan, is confirmed by almost a strict party-line vote. You think, well this must be a political entity, because they’re putting people on or rejecting them on partisan, political lines when that’s just not how it works,” Roberts stated. “So, I’m worried about people having that perception.”

Roberts claimed that hasn’t always been the case, illustrating his point by focusing on the two Justices who represent perhaps the widest philosophical differences on the court.
“It’s not like it’s always been that way,” Roberts said. “Justice (Antonin) Scalia, I think, was confirmed unanimously. I think Justice (Ruth Bader) Ginsburg was confirmed unanimously. Neither one of them would have a chance today. And that doesn’t make any sense. That’s bad for the judiciary.”

AUDIO: U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts discusses growing Washington partisanship and the court. [2:30]

AUDIO: U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts answers questions from 8th US Circuit Chief Judge William Riley at UNL. [1 hour]


The partisanship when it comes to court nominations is a sad thing indeed. Not long ago, the Senate couldn’t even get uncontroversial nominees approved to the federal courts. Good thing they did away with that pesky filibuster rule so they could actually address the crisis of court vacancies. Otherwise, they would have never gotten anything done.

Before the end of Obama’s term, one third of the Supreme Court is going to be over 80, and if one retires (or, heaven forbid, passes away), I worry that the Senate will be unable to confirm a nominee (since a simple majority is not enough to confirm someone to the Supreme Court). Maybe in the lead up to a national election, the Senate might try to put politics aside and operate in a bipartisan manner, but I wouldn’t hold my breath.


Lol, whether they call them “Republican justices” or “Democrat justices,” or “conservative justices” or “liberal justices,” or else “strict interpretation justices” or “change-my-interpretation-every-five-years justices,” it’s all essentially partisan.

This is sort of why I think the news should be really boring to watch and should only come on twice a day for thirty minutes each time and should only show objectively factual reporting like, “This is what happened, this is where it happened, this is why (people say) it happened, these are some people here and I will let them say a few words so you can hear what they have to say, back to you Bob” repeat x5, add the weather, news is over.


Why should anyone listen to the cowardly Captain Kangaroo, a man who was intimidated into voting for the contemptible Obama-Control Bill, and who also helped destroy our sovereignty at the border?
BTW, this statement is dead wrong as well. Ginsberg would be opposed by only a scant dozen or so Republicans who believe in Constitutional limitations of power. Scalia would probably be defeated, however. :mad: Rob


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