It will be a big year for the U.S. Supreme Court and Chief Justice John Roberts in 2015. In September, Roberts celebrates his 10th anniversary as chief justice. Before he gets there, he could be deciding two of the biggest cases of his tenure so far, cases that will test his oft-avowed commitment to putting the law over politics and principle over partisanship. He should resolve to stay true to his word to keep partisanship out of the Supreme Court.
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"His nominees solidified his judicial appointments as a legacy issue that will remain for decades after he's out of office," said Doug Kendall, president of the Constitutional Accountability Center.
Experts who keep tabs on the political leanings of Supreme Court justices in mathematical databases also agree on Alito’s cutting-edge conservatism. According to a comprehensive study published by the University of Minnesota Law Review, Alito is the most pro-business justice to have served on the Supreme Court since the end of World War II, with Roberts taking the runner-up slot. The Constitutional Accountability Center, which measures ideology in line with how the justices vote in cases involving the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, similarly ranks Alito as the court’s top conservative, followed by Thomas.
Historically, most judicial nominees, especially those for district court seats, got confirmed “pretty easily,” said Doug Kendall, president of the Constitutional Accountability Center. Democrats are, of course, hardly blame-free when it comes to blocking Republican judicial nominees. But this time, Kendall noted, “it took the nuclear option” to break through the solid GOP opposition to Obama’s nominees.
In an email, Elizabeth Wydra, a constitutional law expert and Chief Counsel of the Constitutional Accountability Center noted that ultimately repealing birthright citizenship would be extremely tough to do. “Birthright citizenship was written into our nation's charter to ensure that something as fundamental as equal citizenship would not be subject to the changing whim of politics,” she wrote
This case is aided not only by the strength of [Young's] arguments, but actually by the division within the conservative legal movement," Brianne Gorod of the Constitutional Accountability Center told CBS News. "In cases where you see surprising briefs filed, those can get the attention of the justices and have an impact."
Attorney Elizabeth Wydra, arguing for congressional supporters of the measure, said House members still zealously guard their prerogative to start tax legislation. "The origination clause continues to be something that is alive and well in the House," Wydra said.
Chief Justice Roberts should be concerned about institutional legitimacy in this case,” said Elizabeth Wydra, chief counsel of the Washington-based Constitutional Accountability Center. It’s up to him to “secure the court’s reputation as the one place in Washington that remains above politics.”