What Chief Justice John Roberts Had to Say in His Year-End Report

Posted: Jan 01, 2020 8:00 PM
What Chief Justice John Roberts Had to Say in His Year-End Report

Source: AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Chief Justice John Roberts believes the American public has “come to take democracy for granted” and expressed concern that civic education in the country has “fallen by the wayside.”

Writing his year-end report on the state of the judiciary, Roberts urged federal judges to continue educating the public about the Constitution and how the federal government operates.

"In our age, when social media can instantly spread rumor and false information on a grand scale, the public's need to understand our government, and the protections it provides, is ever more vital," he said in the report, which published Tuesday. 

Roberts, who as chief justice of the United States presides over the Judicial Conference, a body that formulates judicial policies , often chooses a theme for his annual report. Last year, as the country continued to grapple with the "me too" movement, Roberts released an update on a judicial working group's effort to evaluate safeguards meant to protect judicial employees from inappropriate conduct in the work place.

In Tuesday's report, he ticked off efforts by courts across the country to give the public better access to the reasoning behind judgments. However, he did not address the fact that the Supreme Court has so far declined to allow cameras in the courtroom. Instead, it issues same day transcripts of arguments, and releases audio days after oral arguments are held. (CNN)

During this contentious time in American politics, Roberts said the judiciary can help bolster the public’s trust in the law and government.

While Roberts said "we should celebrate our strong and independent judiciary, a key source of national unity and stability," he also cautioned that “justice is not inevitable.”

“We should reflect on our duty to judge without fear or favor, deciding each matter with humility, integrity, and dispatch,” he continued, noting that judges should "do our best to maintain the public's trust that we are faithfully discharging our solemn obligation to equal justice under the law."

As chief justice, Roberts is soon set to oversee the impeachment trial of President Trump in the Senate.