Chief Justice John Roberts hopped over to the liberal side on Thursday, ensuring that the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 against the Trump administration’s desire to put a question about citizenship on the 2020 U.S. Census form. While the ruling did not fundamentally preclude the possibility of adding a citizenship question to the census, it did say that there were sufficient problems with the process followed by the Department of Commerce to block the question in its current form.
“Reasoned decisionmaking under the Administrative Procedure Act calls for an explanation for agency action,” Roberts wrote in the majority opinion. “What was provided here was more of a distraction.”
The ruling was hailed as a major victory by Democrats and immigration activists, but President Donald Trump was incensed by the decision.
“Seems totally ridiculous that our government, and indeed Country, cannot ask a basic question of Citizenship in a very expensive, detailed and important Census, in this case for 2020,” Trump tweeted. “I have asked the lawyers if they can delay the Census, no matter how long, until the United States Supreme Court is given additional information from which it can make a final and decisive decision on this very critical matter.
“Can anyone really believe that as a great Country, we are not able the ask whether or not someone is a Citizen,” he wrote in a followup. “Only in America!”
Other conservatives were even more outraged. American Conservative Union chairman Matt Schlapp said it was time for Roberts to be impeached off the high court.
“I’m for impeaching the chief justice for lying to all of us about his support of the Constitution,” Schlapp tweeted. “He is responsible for Robertscare and now he is angling for vast numbers of illegal residents to help Dems hold Congress. Enough Deception from GOP judges on the Constitution.”
His thoughts were echoed by former White House aide Sebastian Gorka, who accused Roberts of betrayal.
“Chief Justice Roberts proves once again he’s an activist judge in the tank for the Left,” Gorka wrote. “Victory in 2020 is more important than ever.”
The impeachment of John Roberts seems unlikely to transpire, but there’s no question that this was a terrible decision. Speculation has been that with the retirement of Anthony Kennedy, Roberts would begin moving to the left in an effort to “center” the Supreme Court. He should worry less about that and more about protecting the Constitution.