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An Open Letter to Chief Justice John Roberts

Updated on November 26, 2018
jackclee lm profile image

Jack is a volunteer at the CCNY Archives. Before retiring, he worked at IBM for over 28 years. His articles have over 120,000 views.


Chief Justice Roberts made news recently by commenting on one of President Trump’s tweets. It was surprising and also inappropriate. This is a letter addressed to Justice Roberts. I hope he takes my message to heart. I am just an average citizen. I did support the appointment of Roberts to the Supreme court by then President GW Bush. I wrote a letter to Time Magazine and it was published. Justice Roberts has served with distinction until the ACA. His majority opinion supporting this bill was inexplicable. Now, he has done it again.

- Nov. 2018

My Letter - Nov. 23, 2018

Dear Chief Justice Roberts:

My name is Jack Lee. I am a retired engineer living in Westchester County NY. I supported your appointment as a conservative justice. I believe in our Constitution and an originalist Interpretation. You have served with distinction under difficult circumstances in an evenly divided court. However, your recent foray into the tweet by President Trump was in poor judgement. Let me explain why it was damaging far beyond you realize.

Our country is at a crossroad. Every since the year 2000, our country seems to be evenly divided. Many elections are decided by a small margin. This is not a good sign. We lack leaders that can unify us and give our country a new direction. Unfortunately, our political system lends itself to reelecting the same people by a huge margin. It is up to the courts to play the role of referee.

Your comment criticizing President Trump just added fuel to the fire. It may not have been your intention but you did just that. It gave the media and the opposition ammunition against an outspoken President Trump. His tweet spoke the truth about our courts. You may be naive to think our judges are all independent free thinkers.

Here is what President Trump said. “"You cannot win if you’re us, a case in the Ninth Circuit, and I think it’s a disgrace when people file, every case gets filed in the Ninth Circuit," Trump said. "That’s not law. That’s not what this country stands for. Every case that gets filed in the Ninth Circuit, we get beaten and then we end up having to go the Supreme Court."

Your response - “We do not have Obama judges or Trump judges, Bush judges or Clinton judges,” the chief justice said in a Thanksgiving eve statement. “What we have is an extraordinary group of dedicated judges doing their level best to do equal right to those appearing before them. That independent judiciary is something we should all be thankful for.”

It may sound good as a campaign speech but that is wishful thinking and not based on reality. In truth, we do have biased judges. We have them among your own colleagues on the Supreme Court.

Why do you think there was such a nasty debate over the confirmation of Justice Kavanaugh? By all standards, Judge Kavanaugh is well qualified to serve but they attacked him and smeared his reputation as they did with Clarence Thomas because they disagreed with his judicial philosophy.

I am a citizen concerned about the future of our nation. Many of our recent court cases were settled by a 5 to 4 decision. This is clearly a bad omen. In some cases, the judges did not do their duty to rule on the constitutionality of the case.

A recent example is the case you presided over the ACA and you wrote the deciding opinion. It was a poorly written monstrosity of legislation. Pieces of the ACA were clearly good for the American people but most of it was not and unsustainable over the long haul. By a 5 to 4 decision, you sided with the majority to keep the law based on a tortured interpretation of whether a penalty is considered a tax.

When the people had their voices heard over the next election and put the GOP back in control over both Houses of Congress, one rogue senator, John McCain, who had campaigned on repeal and replace of the ACA, reneged on his word. Where is the justice? It seems even when Conservatives win in the ballot box, we loose.

On the issue of immigration, how is it that some of our courts and judges do not seem to understand our Constitution? When President Obama, a former constitutional law professor, issued his executive order on DACA, for example, it was clear to even him a few years earlier that it was unconstitutional. He only did it for expediency on his way out in a lame duck session. Every clear-thinking judge should agree on this. There are no two sides. This issue may be complex but it is clearly defined by the Constitution. Only Congress can make laws, and the judges can only determine if the law is constitutional or not. President, as part of the executive branch, cannot make laws. Therefore, the only conclusion is DACA is unconstitutional as it stands. If Congress wishes to pass a new law providing DACA for these children, that is the way it should be handled. Trump was right and the courts are wrong.

Chief Justice Roberts, my wish is that you stay out of these controversIes. Whether the President is right or wrong, it should be handled on the bench and not in cyber space. Whether you believe it or not, we have a biased media in this country. They will use every little wrinkle to hurt this President and stop his agenda. Don’t be an unwilling party to their attacks.


Jack Lee

Yorktown Hts. NY

My Letter To Time Magazine Published Aug. 1, 2005

© 2018 Jack Lee


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    • jackclee lm profile imageAUTHOR

      Jack Lee 

      2 years ago from Yorktown NY

      Credence, what did you think of the main point of my letter? Where am I going wrong?

      I am sure you were not one that supported Roberts as Chief Justice...being a Conservative judge...

    • Credence2 profile image


      2 years ago from Florida (Space Coast)

      For Trump, as the leader of the Executive branch, to imply bias in the judiciary just because he did not get what he wants is unacceptable. Chief Justice Roberts' reply to Trumps loathsome accusation was most appropriate and I agree with it.

    • jackclee lm profile imageAUTHOR

      Jack Lee 

      2 years ago from Yorktown NY

      T, I agree with you and I think people like Roberts are just too nice. They come from the same cloth as Bush and Romney and to some extent McCain. They think the media will play fair if they just stay above the fray and be good Republicans as opposed to Trump and Cruz...the extreme Republican conservative wing...

      Look what they have gotten as a result. They fail to see how it is defeating. Trump is a new brand. One that is outside DC and NY street savvy who will not take attacks lying down. Roberts is out of his league.

    • tsadjatko profile image

      The Logician 

      2 years ago from now on

      I don’t see how that differs from anything I said except what I said explains this public spat toyally. It’s nothing more than wolf staking out it’s territory, Roberts wanting to stake out his (wolves’s) territory. This is not demonstrating his independence from politics. What Trump said has mothing to do with politics, he was just being truthful and Roberts has to defend any member of his “pack” from being maligned by the truth because he actually fears being guilty himself of Trump’s accusations (by association with the judiciary and his Obsmacare ruling).

      It’s a turf war, by disagreeing with Trump he thinks he is defending the integrity of his wolf pack when in actuallity he is showing how out of touch he wants you to be with reality because he knows what Trump said is the reality.

    • jackclee lm profile imageAUTHOR

      Jack Lee 

      2 years ago from Yorktown NY

      T, not that I ignore you, just didn’t get around to it. What you say have some truth to it but does not explain his current public spat with Trump. He is deliberately picking this fight to demonstrate his complete independence from the politics of DC. He is clearly unhappy with the direction of our country and he is aiming at the wrong target. The problem is with the biased judiciary. They have made some terrible rulings in recent years and you have to wonder if these judges believe in our Constitution anymore...

    • tsadjatko profile image

      The Logician 

      2 years ago from now on

      Dear Jack, that’s interesting evidently to you, but no comment on what I said?

      That’s cool, I’m used to being ignored anyway.

    • jackclee lm profile imageAUTHOR

      Jack Lee 

      2 years ago from Yorktown NY

      Dear all, for those interested, I just replace the image of the Time Letter from 2005 with a better quality image. Hopefully it is more readable. I signed up to Time magazine subscription which allowed me access to their archive of old issues back almost 100 years. It is a great feature.

      In addition, I also added a few more links to other open letters submitted to Chief Justice over the years...

    • tsadjatko profile image

      The Logician 

      2 years ago from now on

      Well Jack, what do you expect a judge (a lawyer) to say about other judges (lawyers)?

      Really, you must know if you are a member of that club you can’t disparage other lawyers (or “judges” which are simply glorified lawyers).

      Based on what Roberts said one can only infer that he believes all “judges” are saintly, there are no corrupt judges, there is no such thing as judges legislating from the bench (is this not a reality check? Trump is the only one speaking reality). This from the Justice who found Obamacare to be constitutional, what more need be said? He isn’t defending just the ninth circuit, he’s defending his own ruling which was legislating from the bench. You have George Bush to thank for his appt. which turns out wasn’t any better than Reagan’s appt. of Justice Anthony Kennedy who went left on several landmark decisions.

      Birds of a feather stick together. Ernest Hemingway suggested that “writers should stick together like doctors and lawyers and wolves”. Hemingway later explained that he didn't mean to imply anything nefarious about wolves, for which he had great admiration!

      George Bernard Shaw viewed all professions as conspiracies against the public.

      And so it is plain as day why Justice Roberts would say what he said and after saying what I just said, some might say, I am just as qualified to be a justice as him, at least from a common sense point of view.

    • jackclee lm profile imageAUTHOR

      Jack Lee 

      2 years ago from Yorktown NY

      Paula, thanks for asking. It is Aug. 1, 2005 issue of Time Magazine.

      here is an article I wrote that mention it.

      Unfortunately, the image is not very clear. I will try to find a better copy...

    • fpherj48 profile image


      2 years ago from Carson City

      Jack, in what edition and date of "Time" was your letter published?

    • breakfastpop profile image


      2 years ago


    • jackclee lm profile imageAUTHOR

      Jack Lee 

      2 years ago from Yorktown NY

      We are talking about the 9th circuit court, which gets overturned by the Supreme court 90% of the time. Who are these judges? And how did they get appointed? Did they get the same scrutiny as Kavanaugh?

    • Marie Flint profile image

      Marie Flint 

      2 years ago from Jacksonville, FL USA

      What's important in government is that the spirit of the people are united in support of their leaders for greater creativity and the well-being of all citizens.

      I think our United States has lost that spirit a long time ago, or at least I have. President Trump is useful in "stirring the pot," even if I don't agree with all his policies.

      Verbalized, texted, or reported criticism is, in my opinion, a waste of time because, in most cases, the incident being criticized is "water over the dam."

      Perhaps all governmental officials should take a Hippocratic oath to "do no harm." That means through legislative laws, judicial reviews, and attentiveness to the needs of the people governed.

    • ptosis profile image


      2 years ago from Arizona


      Syllogistically talking, all people are vulnerable to bias. Judges are people. Judges are subsequently vulnerable to bias.

      John G. Malcolm of the Heritage Foundation, said “I understand his desire to express the sentiment — one that I agree with — that judges owe fidelity to the Constitution and the law, and not to a political party or ideology,”

      American Bar Association President Bob Carlson issued a Thanksgiving statement;

      "Disagreeing with a court's decision is everyone's right, but when government officials question a court's motives, mock its legitimacy, or threaten retaliation due to an unfavorable ruling, they intend to erode the court's standing and hinder the courts from performing their constitutional duties,"


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