Legal Expert Tears Into Chief Justice John Roberts

On Jan 2, Joe Patrice, a legal commentator for Above the Law, published a scathing indictment of Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts’ end-of-year report. Patrice harshly criticized Roberts for his inaction concerning the corruption revelations that have shaken the Court this year.

Unacceptable

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“The Year-End Report on the Federal Judiciary is no longer a serious assessment of the state of the federal courts,” Patrice wrote, “as much as it’s a taxpayer-funded blog post for him to express his disdain for the American people.”

Into detail

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“While the federal judiciary in 2023 found itself beset by ethical scandals from top to bottom, jurists abandoning any sense of professionalism and decorum, a forum shopping crisis spawned by the lack of reform to the nationwide injunction procedure, and a criminal defendant openly attacking the judicial process and inspiring violent threats against federal judges,” Patrice explained, “John Roberts addressed… none of these.”

Roberts’ focus

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“Every year,” Roberts claimed in his report, “I use the Year-End Report to speak to a major issue relevant to the whole federal court system.” This year, he decided to write about the rise in AI instead of addressing the numerous bombshell allegations leveled at senior Court members.

Outrage

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“Are you fu…ing kidding me?” Patrice wrote. “There may be serious concerns about whether judges are about to become obsolete, but that has less to do with AI than administrations flooding the courts with non-qualified judges and the highest court in the land being stocked with hacks who use their public duty to collect luxury vacations.”

The Thomas problem

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In early 2023, investigative outlet ProPublica revealed that Justice Clarence Thomas had been the recipient of costly gifts from Harlan Crow for decades. Crow, a billionaire Republican donor, had taken the Justice on a number of luxury vacations.

Big spender

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Thomas was granted trips on Crow’s yacht and private jet, ProPublica revealed, and frequently relaxed at Crow’s high-end resort. One 2019 trip to Indonesia funded by Crow might have cost over $500,000 if Thomas had paid for it himself.

Increasing evidence

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After ProPublica published the first of a series of reports from their investigation, a “tidal wave of reporting” has produced seemingly insurmountable evidence that “many” of the justices are “particularly corrupt,” per the Guardian. “The Court has hijacked American democracy, vastly overextended its own power, and flaunted its corruption,” columnist Moira Donegan concluded.

No oversight

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Despite these revelations, Roberts refused to grant Congress oversight power over the Court, claiming the current ethics standards were sufficient. “I am surprised that the chief justice’s recounting of existing legal standards of ethics suggests current law is adequate and ignores the obvious,” Sen. Richard Durbin wrote in response. “It is time for Congress to accept its responsibility to establish an enforceable code of ethics for the Supreme Court, the only agency of our government without it.”

No mention

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Roberts also declined to address the corruption scandal in his end-of-year report. “Apparently,” Patrice wrote, “Roberts saw the report this year as an opportunity to tickle the clickbait impulses of legal reporters eager to spill a few hundred words speculating about AI rather than focusing on the Chief’s silence on the most pressing issues undermining the legitimacy of the third branch.”

Shame

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“While obviously of secondary importance, the report is also a piss-poor analysis of artificial intelligence,” Patrice wrote.” If AI had a sense of shame, ChatGPT would be embarrassed by this level of superficiality. If Roberts had a sense of shame, he should be too.”

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