May 12, 2016

"Do you hold Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. responsible for the ascendancy of Donald Trump?"

"The thought never crossed your mind? Then you probably haven’t been reading the conservative blogosphere...."

46 comments:

Oso Negro said...

Hadn't given i much thought, but now that you link to the conservative NYT, I would have to say, yes, he certainly contributed.

tim maguire said...

I can't say the thought never crossed my mind, but only because I read one not very persuasive essay claiming it. And yes, I do read the conservative blogosphere. John Roberts has his role to play in creating the atmosphere that gave birth to a Donald Trump, but he was only one among many.

CStanley said...

I read this theory and commented here about it recently. While Roberts isn't wholly responsible, I do think his decision on the ACA case may have been a tipping point for a lot of people. I can definitely see how it could make one feel that the system is broken to the point that corrections are impossible, thus contributing to a "burn it all down" mentality.

David Begley said...

Funny. Linda Greenhouse of the NYT complainng about a political judiciary.

JAORE said...

I find the statements about how conservatives railed against activist judges overturning laws that now rail against them NOT overturning laws.

From my Holiday Inn Express perspective, conservatives rail against finding rights where there are no such words in the law to be activist. They also find judges inserting words not in the law, or redefining words in a law to be activist.

But where you stand depends on where you sit.

JAORE said...

inserting = ignoring..... d'oh.

buwaya puti said...

It's true, partly. One of many things that destroyed confidence in institutions, and one that has caused substantial harm in the real world, as opposed to the world of political theater.
It's hard to see how any corrections are possible though, through normal politics anyway. And things are going to have to degenerate a great deal further before any other resolutions become possible.
There is a long painful period of decline ahead, the last eight years are just the beginning.
And the writer is a smarmy fool.
Her argument isn't with some other writers she can properly snark about, but with a huge number of real people.
Most political writers don't want to face that idea.

Bushman of the Kohlrabi said...

Next up for Greenhouse: Who is responsible for the ascendancy of Hillary Clinton?

Scratch that. We all know it's Bill.

rhhardin said...

The establishment being invincible to voter decisions gave Trump. Roberts was just an instance.

exhelodrvr1 said...

1) Someone as obviously unqualified as Obama being elected, twice, is the biggest factor in the rise of Trump.
2) The Republican leadership, for the part, being very wishy-washy on conservative principles and letting Obama off too easy is the second biggest factor.

Roberts decision might be in third place.

Ron said...

No...I am not whitelisting or subscribing the NYT.

buwaya puti said...

The other way to look at this is that economics drives politics. What people write, in the argument between writers that this lady is on about, is just a reaction to reality on the ground. Which she doesn't want to acknowledge.
Reality is that the US is in a slow motion economic catastrophe, created entirely by government policies in nearly every area. One important one was the health insurance debacle.
If the US had had three years of even 3% genuine growth post 2012 there would have been no Trump.

traditionalguy said...

She has the whiplash part right. The DC players we were told were the ones on our side, magically were complete supporters for Obama's plans for destroying us under a charade. We woke up to the fact that DC was like Petain's French Government supporting Hitler's plans for ruling Vichy France.

So we called for General Patton.

tim in vermont said...

She is swimming in Kool Aide and doesn't even know it.

tim in vermont said...

The Republican Party is dead. It was suicide. As Reagan said, these guys all get to Washington by telling voters it's a cesspool, when they get there, it becomes a hot tub.

tim in vermont said...

I think also that electing the least qualified president since before the Civil War has opened the door too.

Virgil Hilts said...

The right may not like Roberts, but they're mad because of the cynicism through which Obamacare (impacting 1/3 economy) was passed w/o a single non-Dem vote, after Brown was elected (signalling the voters' disapproval), using legislative slight of hand, using systematic and intentional deceit to the less informed (you can keep your plan), all with the assumption that the bill would ultimately fail (per Barney Frank) so as to make it easier to move to single player. I am sure Linda G. was absolutely fine with all of that and that is why she and her ilk have no f-ing clue as to why people are angry enough to vote for an asshole like Trump -- its to send a bug FU message to Washington and her kind. Trump is FU personified.

The Godfather said...

Personally I blame McConnel and Boehner. What people are reacting to is the failure of political leadership, not of judicial interpretation. To the limited extent that Roberts' opinion in the Obamacare cases was a factor, it was less the decisions themselves than the claim by commenters on the right that they were political and insincere.

RAH said...

I think Ilya was correct. The Roberts decision on June 28 2010 showed us that the solution is not the law,or the Constitution but winning with a strong man that protects us. That is why many choose Trump. Really Obama proved that. He got away with the usurpation of power and illegal actions. So that showed why the checks and balances have failed.


Roberts essentially told would-be Trumpistas not to bother the courts with important issues, that if you want to beat Obama you have to get your own strongman—complete with pen, phone, and contempt for the Constitution. So they did.

Ilya Shapiro
May 5, 2016
How John Roberts Begat Donald Trump
[H/T to Glenn Reynolds.

Phil 3:14 said...

the solution is not the law,or the Constitution but winning with a strong man that protects us. That is why many choose Trump.

Yes, let's become an African dictatorship or a banana republic. That will surely solve things.

James Pawlak said...

Chief Justice Roberts is the greatest appointment mistake since Chief Justice Douglas.

tim in vermont said...

The United States should just copy Iran and rename the Supreme Court the Expediency Council.

Anglelyne said...

Phil 3:14: Yes, let's become an African dictatorship or a banana republic. That will surely solve things.

We're already well on the way to becoming a banana republic, if indeed we're not already there. That's was the point, which you missed by a mile.

Big Mike said...

@Althouse, if you keep reading Linda Greenhouse it's certainly going to corrode your brain.

As time Maguire and The Godfather points out, the Roberts ruling on the ACA is one contributor among many. In no particular order I would include ...

Mitch McConnell - I didn't expect him to become a Harry Reid-style dictator of the Senate, but it's seldom easy to see much difference between his agenda and Reid's.

John Boehner - what use is the power of the purse strings if one doesn't exercise it?

Jeb Bush - what was his reason for running? Oh! That's right, he raised a lot of money. That suggested to me, and doubtless to many other Republicans, that somewhere there's a cabal of gazillionaires who think that they can buy my party the way that George Soros and Lloyd Blankfein bought the Dems. No, sir, Mr. Bush, you go back home to Mommy.

Mitt Romney - who convinced me, and doubtless many other Republicans, that maybe nominating a nice guy for the presidency is not a good idea. Heck, if he tried to hit Barack Obama as hard in 2012 as he's trying to hit Donald Trump in 2016, he'd running for his second term right now. (And maybe Obamacare would be working.)

The entire press corps, especially including the clueless "designated conservatives" like David Brooks, Kathleen Parker, and Jennifer Rubin. If they had a clue, it would be the first clue they ever had.

And finally, the issues. The press corps (see above) suggests that the only reason Republican voters are opposed to open borders is raw racism. Really? No economic component? As I said, clueless.

Lauderdale Vet said...

I think it's a valid point that Trump is successful because the GOPe apparatchik ignored their base and failed to live up to their promises. (To many it didn't even appear that they tried to)

I think it's equally true that if he is elected, it is because the DNCe are guilty of the same crimes.

mccullough said...

A lot of factors over the last 25 years contributing to Trump getting the GOP nomination. Terrorism, endless war, illegal immigration, decline of manufacturing jobs, huge debt (both at the federal and state and local level), financial meltdown, and general decline of culture.

HW, Clinton, W, Obama, Pelosi, Reid, Boehner/Ryan, and McConnell are far more bigger factor than Roberts or any Supreme Court decision.

BrianE said...

"1) Someone as obviously unqualified as Obama being elected, twice, is the biggest factor in the rise of Trump.
2) The Republican leadership, for the part, being very wishy-washy on conservative principles and letting Obama off too easy is the second biggest factor.

Roberts decision might be in third place."- exhelodrvr1


This is about right.

eric said...

There are several reasons for the rise of Trump. Roberts is one of them, but I think Obama is a larger factor.

Obama became what the left accused Bush of being. They said he was Hitler. Obama decided he would rule without Congress. I think he is the first President to be so brazen about it. At least in my lifetime.

So, what's left? The right sees that Congress isn't really a check on the courts or the executive. That Congress likes to say, "we can't do that!" When really thy can.

Well, if they won't, what option is left to us?

I mean, Congress never has to pass a budget. Thy can shut down the government and make the argument that the President needs to compromise. But they refuse. Instead they focus on getting g reelected.

So, thyve left us no choice. It was a good run.

Franklin said...

Roberts just made sure Americans understood that, apres lui, there is no rule of law any longer. Even the actual written words of a law cannot protect you against the majority currently in power if they desire to push you around, which has led many Americans to the conclusion that we'd better get a strongman of our own to protect ourselves.

Even though ol' Linda covered it in a snarky way, I'm surprised she covered it at all.

Balfegor said...

I think ACA/Roberts is a comparatively minor factor -- I don't think it contributed to Trump's initial breakout phase during the campaign, and Trump is, in any event, an extremely poor fit for anyone who (1) wants to scale back federal regulation of health insurance, (2) wants to promote strict textualism and originalism among the judiciary.

His breakout issues have always been obvious: (1) Immigration and (2) Free trade. And of the two, immigration is clearly the key driver of the initial period of his campaign -- the talk about "the wall" has consistently been one of his key applause lines, and. And immigration was one of the highest profile cases in which Republican politicians betrayed their constituents. If Republican office-holders had just ignored the issue, rather than grandstanding in favour of turning illegal immigrants into citizens, I don't think the Republican party would be in the sorry state it is today.

His skepticism of FTAs, while popular, is less unique to him. Other Republicans have expressed skepticism re: the TPP, and it just hasn't been as high-profile.

Franklin said...

I mean, what caused the mood of the country right now would be a heavily-anotated 1000 page book, but the Roberts decision would definitely be one of the most significant single events.

The recurring villain in the book would be the media being so pro-Democrat: Part of the reason the Republican leadership doesn't pay attention to it's base the way the Democrat leadership does to its base, is that all of them - Republicans and Democrats - live in the media bubble. The media paints being pro-life as extremist but being in favor of stabbing a partially-born infant in the skull just perfectly normal. Republicans live in fear of the news cycle.

Trump knows how to use the media's negative attention to his advantage, and a lot of Republicans are excited for someone that can do that.

tim in vermont said...

Promoting strict constitutionalism is a lost cause.

J. Farmer said...

I have a simple litmus test before reading any "explaining Trump's ascendancy" columns. I do Ctrl+F and search for the word "immigration" or "immigrant." If none comes up, I don't read it.

mikee said...

Roberts had to do one job. ONE JOB. He did not do it. In fact, he did the exact opposite of the job he was carefully selected, vetted, nominated and confirmed to do.

The rest of the GOPe also had one job. ONE JOB. They did not do it. Same as Roberts, despite their selection, election and grant of amazing authority, the GOPe has done the exact opposite of the one job they were chosen to do, the one job they were so eager to do, before their elections.

The GOPe did not cause Trump. He saw a YUUUGE opportunity caused by a YUUUUGE group of people who had one job, ONE JOB, to do, and who did not do it. So he is simply seizing that opportunity, as those who failed to do their one job are ignored into irrelevancy by the people who hired them.

cubanbob said...

Roberts certainly didn't create Trump alone but he sure is one of the creators.
It takes an awe-inspiring arrogance for a Chief Justice of the Constitutional Court to rule the Constitution is meaningless, it only means what we say it means and we make it up on the fly. The ObamaCare ruling made that crystal clear when it ruled a tax is whatever we think a Congress wanted to call a tax but was too afraid to call it a tax and that tax is permissible for not buying something that we said you weren't obligated to buy.

One day this arrogance will come back and bite the courts. I can see Trump going to a compliant Congress and getting Congress to revoke one or more Supreme Court rulings and saying the other two branches trump you. Suppose Congress revokes the ruling from 40 odd years ago where local schools have to provide illegal alien children public education? Does anyone really believe that in most of the country that along with other measures intended to encourage illegals to leave won't be popular? The court has had a huge rule in the creation of the Leviathan State and while Trump isn't the guy to seriously roll it back he is the guy who will curb aspects of it and thus in it's way the Court is responsible for Trump, one drip at a time.

buwaya said...

I don't think most voters care much one way or another about Supreme Court decisions, or know who Roberts is.

What they know and care about is their personal condition and that of the people they know, and what they recall of their condition in the past vs their present, if they recall better times, if they feel their status has fallen.

Why men Rebel - Gurr - On Althouse Amazon portal !

http://www.amazon.com/Why-Men-Rebel-Robert-Gurr/dp/1594519145

If the economy had recovered as expected since 2008, few, relatively (there are always political aficionados, but not very many really), would have cared much about Roberts, and would have been more or less content with their traditional class of leaders, and Trump would have been an amusing footnote, and, perhaps, such issues that loom so large like immigration would matter much less.

Chuck said...

Forget Linda Greenhouse and all of her baggage for a moment. The simple fact is that Chief Justice Roberts has been on the aggressively conservative side of a dozen huge cases, and failed the Tea Party's obsession(s) on just two cases; the two Obamacare cases.

Anybody who doubts John Roberts' conservative backbone needs to read his dissent in Obergefell.

And anybody who wants to overhaul Obamacare ought to think very hard about how to go about electing more than 60 Republicans in the Senate. Which means electing Republicans statewide in places like Wisconsin, Illinois, Maine, Ohio, Florida, New Mexico, North Carolina, Nevada and Missouri. Purple states. Where screaming about RINOs and the GOP establishment doesn't help much.

buwaya said...

"Anybody who doubts John Roberts' conservative backbone needs to read his dissent in Obergefell."

Note: Its a DISSENT. That means he lost. The language doesn't matter one tiny bit in the real world. All that matters is who wins.

The system makes normal politics irrelevant anyway. There is no power in the Congress or the Senate to roll back or even marginally control this -

http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/penny-starr/epa-administrator-we-rock-writing-rules

Chuck said...

One day this arrogance will come back and bite the courts. I can see Trump going to a compliant Congress and getting Congress to revoke one or more Supreme Court rulings and saying the other two branches trump you. Suppose Congress revokes the ruling from 40 odd years ago where local schools have to provide illegal alien children public education?

What does any of that even mean?

If you have a suuprtive Congress, just pass a replacement statute for Obamacare. No need for any courts.

But if you are talking about Heller or Citizens United, those are constitutional issues. Unfortunately, so was Obergefell (and Lawrence and Windsor), to the extent that anyone can divine what portion of the Constitution that Justice Kennedy was talking about.

And exactly why is it that Roberts gets all if this hate? It was Kennedy who was the single critical indispensable link in legislating homosexual marriage from the bench. NOT Roberts.

jr565 said...

buwaya wrote:
"Anybody who doubts John Roberts' conservative backbone needs to read his dissent in Obergefell."

Note: Its a DISSENT. That means he lost. The language doesn't matter one tiny bit in the real world. All that matters is who wins.

But I wouldn't fault Roberts becuase he was in the minority. That says nothing about Roberts. It says more about the five justices who voted in the majority. The issue was is Roberts responsible for the rise of Trump. He's not responsible for the votes of his fellow justices. That being said, his support of Obamacare was a really big mistake.

buwaya said...

As for bipartisan complicity in the present economic troubles -

See here -

http://us.milliman.com/PFS/

US PRIVATE pensions are underfunded as badly as PUBLIC pensions.

And Republicans are complicit in this, among other things due to this BIPARTISAN bill - which was uncontroversial at the time. Hidden in here - very deliberately I think -

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moving_Ahead_for_Progress_in_the_21st_Century_Act

It has private pension funding provisions changing regulations so as to permit compromising funding requirements below actuarial best practices.

And I just happened to run across this.
Go dig some more yourself - I bet it wont take long to decide that the whole lot of them are in cahoots.

Real American said...

Roberts, like Obama and Boehner, basically forced people to realize there is no rule of law in this country and the GOP isn't going to fight (and is otherwise useless) so do whatever the fuck you want. Donald Trump is a giant FUCK YOU candidate.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

If the economy had recovered as expected since 2008, few, relatively (there are always political aficionados, but not very many really), would have cared much about Roberts, and would have been more or less content with their traditional class of leaders, and Trump would have been an amusing footnote, and, perhaps, such issues that loom so large like immigration would matter much less.

Well sure, immigration isn't going to be a big issue when the economy is humming and everybody who wants one can get a good paying job. There will be some grumbling about non-assimilation but despite the lefts' assumption that everybody but them is racist, that's about it.

But when the economy is in the crapper then off course people are going to want to restrict immigration. The establishment in both parties call that natavism and think, for some reason, that it is bad. The people voting for Trump consider it common sense.

Harold said...

Ah, Chuck, the Senate doesn't need 60 votes or a supermajority for anything except what the Constitution mandates. Democrats have already shown that.

And what's good for the goose...

Anthony said...

He was just part of the continuum of Republicans acting like Democrats.

ThreeHeaded Throop said...

We've reached the point (who knows when, exactly) where you can be indisputably correct on the constitution and it just doesn't matter. You still lose. I hear a lot of people saying, more or less, burn it down? Really? Is that your plan? I say what's the difference. It's heads I win tails you lose. Oh, I know that truly trashing the system will make today seem like halcyon days. So there is some difference. People will put off (have been putting off) any final reckoning for as long as they can on this account. The difference is only one of timing. Hell to pay now or at some later time. I suppose I'd rather it was later but damned if I wouldn't like to go through DC with a 25 cent piece and a garrote stopping to choke every other asshole in government so as to focus the attention of the survivors. It wouldn't work and the satisfaction would be fleeting. We'll see if I live to see the flames.

I blame Roberts, partly. But definitely he has played his part. I half credit the speculation that there's dirt on him and blackmail involved, but only half. It's the kind of thing that is plausible, is all. He'd probably have done it for some other half-assed reason. I heard one of the candidates (I don't remember which) say that however bad you think it is in DC - it's worse. I believe this in spite of the infinite regression implied.