Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts has once again defied expectations of conservatives and President Donald Trump, blocking a controversial Louisiana law on abortion restrictions Monday morning. CNN’s Jeffrey Toobin was surprised by the Chief Justice’s willingness to side with liberals for the third time in three weeks, noting that “Roberts may not be who we thought he was.”
Roberts, who Republicans voted unanimously to the court in 2005, was in favor of not immediately ending DACA and preserving health protections for trans people two weeks ago — both of which went against Trump’s public policy stances.
Conservatives attacked him for siding with liberals, including Fox’s Lou Dobbs who claimed Roberts “lost his mind.” On Monday, Toobin expressed similar shock on CNN.
“Something is going on with John Roberts,” Toobin said. “John Roberts has sided with the liberals now in three of the biggest cases of the year… Here Roberts switched places because, he says, the rule of precedent requires that we honor the decision of a couple of years ago even though I disagreed with it at the time.”
Toobin is referring to a 2019 dissent from Roberts that voted for abortion restrictions in Texas. A year ago, some even suggested that Roberts may strike down 1973’s Roe v. Wade. But on Monday, Roberts’ opinion changed.