U.S. Supreme Court

Scalia’s Barbs Hook Chief Justice

In two opinions on Monday, Justice Antonin Scalia took pointed aim at the chief justice for failing to overturn precedent.

Scalia’s missives have “served to lift the curtain a bit on the differences within the powerful five-justice conservative bloc that has marched in lock step through much of the term,” Linda Greenhouse writes in a column for the New York Times.

Scalia criticized Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. for failing to admit that he was overturning a 2003 opinion that had upheld campaign finance restrictions. Roberts had written that the restrictions were not constitutional as applied to an issue ad by an anti-abortion group.

“This faux judicial restraint is judicial obfuscation,” Scalia wrote.

In another opinion, Scalia criticized Roberts and two other justices for their controlling opinion that distinguished rather than overturned a 1968 ruling that permitted taxpayers to challenge legislative expenditures on religion.

“Minimalism is an admirable judicial trait,” Scalia wrote, “but not when it comes at the cost of meaningless and disingenuous distinctions.”

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