Pence criticizes Chief Justice Roberts, says court's future 'on the ballot in 2020'

The vice president called the chief judge “a'disappointment' to conservatives, particularly in an abortion case.
Image: U.S. President Trump delivers State of the Union address at the U.S. Capitol in Washington
U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts.Leah Millis / Reuters file

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By Rebecca Shabad

WASHINGTON — Vice President Mike Pence said in an interview airing Thursday that Chief Justice John Roberts has let down conservatives by siding with the Supreme Court's liberal justices in several recent decisions.

"We have great respect for the institution of the Supreme Court of the United States, but Chief Justice John Roberts has been a disappointment to conservatives whether it be the Obamacare decision or whether it be a spate of recent decisions," Pence said in an interview with Christian Broadcasting Network’s David Brody, who released a clip of this portion of the interview Wednesday night.

Pence said that Roberts' rulings are a reminder "of just how important this election is for the future of the Supreme Court."

The vice president specifically criticized Roberts for siding with the high court's liberals in striking down a restrictive abortion law in Louisiana. Pence noted that the law required doctors working in abortion clinics “to have admitting privileges at local hospitals."

"That's a very modest restriction on abortion providers, but a narrow majority in the Supreme Court still said it was unacceptable," he said. "I think it's been a wake-up call for pro-life voters around the country who understand, in a very real sense, the destiny of the Supreme Court is on the ballot in 2020."

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Roberts also cast the deciding vote by joining liberal justices in a 5-4 decision that blocked the Trump administration from shutting down DACA, which allows young people known as Dreamers to remain in the U.S. In a 6-3 decision, Roberts also joined the majority in ruling that federal law does not allow job discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or transgender status.

Pence reiterated in the interview that President Donald Trump plans to release a list of candidates that he could draw from for future appointments to the Supreme Court.