John Roberts on Homeland Security

Supreme Court Justice (nominated by Pres. George W. Bush 2005)


Support executive-branch power in foreign & military affairs

After graduating summa cum laude from Harvard and Harvard Law School, Roberts first position was as clerk for Second Circuit Appeals Court Judge Henry Friendly in New York. Next, Roberts worked for Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, who at the time was an associate justice. Legal analysts believe this is where Roberts honed his conservative approach to law, including his skepticism of federal power over the states and his support of executive-branch power in foreign and military affairs.
Source: About.com, "US Conservatives" , Nov 1, 2011

Habeas rights at Guantanamo is judicial overreach

The 5-to-4 ruling that the detainees at Guantanamo Bay have a constitutional right to go to federal court to challenge their continued detention was the court's third consecutive rebuff to the Bush administration in a Guantanamo-related case. Justice Kennedy, who had voted with the majority in the two earlier rounds, wrote the opinion in the case, Boumediene v. Bush. The guarantee of habeas corpus [the right to a hearing] applies at the Navy base in Cuba, the court said, and the truncated alternative procedure that Congress set up was not an adequate substitute.

Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Scalia dissented, joined by Justices Thomas and Alito. The chief justice accused the majority of judicial "overreaching." Justice Scalia warned that giving the detainees access to judicial review "will almost certainly cause more Americans to be killed."

Source: New York Times, "SCOTUS" , Jun 29, 2008

Military tribunals for terrorists are ok

Roberts was part of a unanimous decision last week that allowed the Pentagon to proceed with plans to use military tribunals to try terrorism suspects held at Guantanamo Bay.
Source: The Associated Press , Jul 19, 2005

Bar veterans from suing the new Iraqi government

In a decision in June 2004, Roberts went even further than his colleagues in supporting the Bush administration in a case that pitted the government against veterans of the first Gulf War. American soldiers captured and tortured by the Iraqi government during the first Gulf War sued the Iraqi government in U.S. court and won nearly $1 billion in damages at the district court level. Roberts, alone among the circuit judges who ruled with the government, said the federal courts did not even have jurisdiction to consider the victims’ claim. An appeal is before the Supreme Court. But once Saddam was toppled in 2003, the Bush administration wanted to protect the new Iraqi government from liability and intervened to block the award.
Source: Tony Mauro, Legal Times , Feb 22, 2005

Other Justices on Homeland Security: John Roberts on other issues:
Samuel Alito(since 2006)
Amy Coney Barrett(since 2020)
Stephen Breyer(since 1994)
Neil Gorsuch(since 2017)
Ketanji Brown Jackson(nominated 2022)
Elena Kagan(since 2010)
Brett Kavanaugh(since 2018)
John Roberts(since 2005)
Sonia Sotomayor(since 2009)
Clarence Thomas(since 1991)

Former Justices:
Merrick Garland(nominated 2016)
Ruth Bader Ginsburg(1993-2020)
Anthony Kennedy(1988-2018)
Antonin Scalia(1986-2016)
John Paul Stevens(1975-2010)
David Souter(1990-2009)
Sandra Day O'Connor(1981-2006)
William Rehnquist(1975-2005)

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Foreign Policy
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Page last updated: Mar 21, 2022