COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — Chief Justice John Roberts on Friday defended the authority of the Supreme Court to interpret the Constitution, saying its role should not be called into question just because people disagree with its decisions.
When asked to reflect on the last year at the court in his first public appearance since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, Roberts said he was concerned that lately some critics of the court’s controversial decisions have questioned the legitimacy of the court, which he said was a mistake. He did not mention any specific cases or critics by name.
“If the court doesn’t retain its legitimate function of interpreting the constitution, I’m not sure who would take up that mantle. You don’t want the political branches telling you what the law is, and you don’t want public opinion to be the guide about what the appropriate decision is,” Roberts said while being interviewed by two judges from the Denver-based 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals at its conference in Colorado Springs.
Roberts described the last year as an unusual and difficult one, pointing to the public not be allowed inside the court, closed in 2020 because of the pandemic, as one hardship. He also said it was “gut wrenching” to drive into the Supreme Court that was surrounded by barricades every day.