Last Updated:November 30 @ 05:03 pm

Roberts Jokes About Trip to 'Impregnable' Fortress

By Joe Mandak

(AP) - U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts joked that he'll spend some time on an "impregnable island fortress" now that the court has ended a session that featured him casting the decisive vote to uphold President Barack Obama's health care law.

Responding to a question about his summer break, Roberts said he planned to teach a class for two weeks in Malta, the Mediterranean island nation.

"Malta, as you know, is an impregnable island fortress. It seemed like a good idea," Roberts said, drawing laughter from about 300 judges, attorneys and others attending a four-day conference Friday at a posh southwestern Pennsylvania resort.

Roberts appeared Friday at a conference hosted by the Judicial Conference of the District of Columbia Circuit, one day after the Supreme Court said the federal government can require citizens to buy health insurance. The impromptu 35-minute session featured Roberts answering alternating questions from Chief Judge David B. Sentelle, of the D.C. Circuit Court, and Chief Judge Royce C. Lamberth, who heads the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

Neither judge asked Roberts directly about the health care decision.

Rather, Roberts responded with the Malta quip after Sentelle asked him whether he was "going to Disney World" now that the court has adjourned for the summer.

The only direct question Roberts got about the health care opinion came when those at the conference were invited to ask questions.

That's when Roberts was asked what he thought his court's legacy would be in 50 years and "how one recent opinion might fit into that" — an obvious reference to the health care decision.

"Well, I won't answer anything that has to do with the second part of that," Roberts said. But he said he hopes that the court under him is remembered as one that "did our job according to the Constitution, of protecting equal justice under the law."

Lamberth hinted at the controversial decision when he asked Roberts if it bothered him that he can't respond to his critics.

"No," Roberts said, his brief answer hanging in the air to more laughter.

The conference at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort and Spa, about 50 miles southeast of Pittsburgh, was entitled "Science and the Law." It focused on how social sciences and psychology affect the way the courts are perceived by the public, as well as how judges go about making decisions when such sciences come into play.

Roberts wasn't asked about those subjects. Instead, he answered more than a dozen questions ranging from how he decides to assign cases to his colleagues to whether social media activity is a problem among Supreme Court law clerks.

"The flat rule is 'don't do it,' but we haven't had any situations come up," Roberts said.

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  1. cxComment by genesal
    July 2, 2012 @ 8:13 am

    Well, if Roberts was trying to protect the Legacy of SCOTUS he succeeded in doing quite the opposite. The last bastion of freedom has turned on us and now we’re on our own. Get ready for a rough ride where fence sitting is not an option.

    Roberts has basically exchanged the Commerce Clause with unfettered taxes making it possible for the government to use unrestrained taxing ability to force the people to obey the governments whims or refrain from certain behaviors.

    I think he will go down the halls of history in ‘infamy’.

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  2. tazz1933Comment by tazz1933
    July 2, 2012 @ 11:22 am

    Roberts smug smile is phoney just like Obamas.
    Two peas in a pod.

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    • 1rhkmykalaComment by 1rhkmykala
      July 4, 2012 @ 11:13 am

      Roberts meeting of Hussain Obama must have been a religious expireance.
      To meet a silver tongued posser, he must think him a messiah.
      He fooled us once shame on him. To fool US twice, it would be a shame on US.
      Simply, BHO is anti American/America and we are in troubled waters.

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  3. capricorn1Comment by capricorn1
    July 2, 2012 @ 11:31 am

    the lifetime appointment to the bench has got to be removed.
    along with making term limits for congress law of the land.
    these judges act like the sit atop mount olympus and play with peoples lives like its a chess game.
    especially judges that lean to socialism and call our constitution “no roll model” to start a country.ginsberg is a disgrace.

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  4. nickster99Comment by nickster99
    July 2, 2012 @ 11:46 am

    Term limits for all of Congress is a must and will one day (soon I hope) will be law. But I do believe that court Justices are in for life for a good reason. There is less of a chance of the Court ever being one sided. That would be a bad thing for all of us. Too much power on any one side is never a good thing! We are witnessing it now in the current congress. 2 term max for Senators and 4 terms for Representatives should be the norm. And cutting their benefits in half of what they get now! They should be there to work not to get rich! Just like most of the rest of us!

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  5. tpaine1776Comment by tpaine1776
    July 2, 2012 @ 12:34 pm

    It is squarely upon the virtue of the people that the vigor, and the viability, of the Constitution are predicated. As John Adam’s expressed it:” Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” The evolving lawlessness with which we find ourselves being challenged to contend, in every sphere, in this day, is an ineffably lamentable, yet entirely predictable outworking of the effect which the declension of virtue that has attended the declension of Judeo-Christian instruction, and influence, has had, not only in this country, but particularly in Europe, and in absolute terms, around the world. In the absence of light, how great is the darkness?

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  6. freedomfighterComment by freedomfighter
    July 2, 2012 @ 1:11 pm

    I just have to wonder what was waived in front of him to make him vote against we the people, and his party.

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    • cxComment by genesal
      July 2, 2012 @ 1:15 pm

      Yes, and what made him ‘CHANGE’ his mind?

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  7. middlegroundComment by middleground
    July 2, 2012 @ 2:09 pm

    The problem with the Supreme Court is not just a naive chief justice, it is the makeup of the entire court when political parties begin to put their party loyalists on the court.

    The important figures in writing the Constitution and the Bill of Rights included men like John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and George Washington who brought to the Constitutional Convention a wealth of practical experience in a dozen different disciplines and occupations. The Obamacare decision by Judge Roberts points out the fatal flaw in the current makeup of the SC. It consists only of lawyers and politicians whose experience is limited and whose legal education is still further restricted to Harvard and Yale. Can you imagine an Alexander Hamilton who had maintained business records for an export-import business at 14 and set up the US monetary system not considering practical matters such as cost and the extent of our exploding national debt in levying a new tax? A window into their thinking is the 1792 Coinage Act which demanded the death penalty for debasing the nation’s coinage, essentially printing money not backed by real assets.

    It should be obvious to everyone outside Washington that lawyers who have no experience outside of law and politics should not be in total control of the nation’s future and that the makeup of the SC needs to be broadened to include a broader spectrum of the nation’s experienced businessmen, scholars and scientists as well as some jurists or alternatively the court’s lawyers need to be restricted to following the Constitution as they did for the first 200 years of the nation’s history. When all three branches of government are dominated by lawyers, it leads to a national leadership who are very narrow on their perspective. Why? Because with most other professions the individual has to give up their profession or business to run for political office, but in law being a candidate helps you get clients whether you win or lose. Similarly, those who are backed by a union or work for government seem able to have the time to run a campaign and not have to sacrifice their livelihood.

    I heard an energy expert describe our nation’s leaders attitude toward energy as: “They seem to think all you have to do is plug your car into an electric plug and juice it up with free energy. No one seems to consider the complex delivery system required to power that plug and other practical matters.” All of the nation’s founders may have had ideals, but none of them were fuzzy headed idealists who couldn’t understand the result of deficit spending is inflation.

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    • teapartyproudComment by teapartyproud
      July 3, 2012 @ 5:54 am

      Excellent commentary. I’ve long believed that lawyers should be totally excluded from holding public office. There is far too much conflict of interest involved.

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  8. vComment by v
    July 2, 2012 @ 3:46 pm

    I’ve listened and read all the theories about why he did this….Mine is that he is punishing the ones that voted Obama and his Group of Idiots into office….only one thing is wrong with that the rest of us also have to bear the cost a
    and we fought like HE** to keep them out of office..what avenue of escape did he leave for us????
    This actions of this and prior administration on refusing to enforce US Immigration Laws and the Constant INCREASE of Work Visas / Work Greencards / Educational Visas / Immigration Quotas / Allowing Foreign Nationals to access OUR US College Funds / Allowing Foreign Nationals to over stay ALL VISAS / Allowing Foreign Nationals to Hold Government Jobs!….Resulted in Bankrupting ME and Millions of Other LEGAL US CITIZENS!

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  9. freedomfighterComment by freedomfighter
    July 2, 2012 @ 5:04 pm

    I have many beliefs as to why he flip flopped on this issue, but cannot for sure put my finger on THE one.
    I can say, however, that he either gave no thought to, or just did not G.A.S what the longer term consequences would be. He has made a enemy of his own party, and backstabbed we the people in his clamor to go against the Constitution, America, and we the people in keeping Obummercare on the books.
    This is one of those political suicide maneuvers which will catch many in the coming elections of President, and all officials in the Government, as they come up for vote. Reid is one of those, and he will pay the price come next election. I am sure he will not be able to cheat the vote as he did last time, when his name was pre marked on many ballots. Especially if his savior is removed from office. He will be toast along with many others displaying their true colors, which unfortunately are not RED, WHITE, AND BLUE.
    Eventually, the covers will come off of those hiding under the protective covering of the Mangler N Chief, and leave them bare to those, certain to come negative votes which will sink their floundering ship.



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  10. JDZComment by JDZ
    July 2, 2012 @ 7:24 pm

    Justice Roberts went against the most experienced and constitutionally sensitive justices of the SCOTUS in favor of the position of two inexperienced newbies and Justice Ginsberg who is a leftist liberal who has declared publicly that she would not recommend our Constitution to anyone. To me, this puts his motives for his decision on even more questionable grounds in terms of the rule of law, and also raises questions as to his viability as Chief Justice of the Court.

    Maybe he caved to pressure from the radical anti-Americans now living in the Whitehouse for professional or personal reasons, or both, and we may never learn exactly what happened, It just doesn’t look good on the surface, and his legacy may forever be tainted.

    His unapologetic and arrogant behavior is not helping his public image except to put him in lock step with the ongoing behavior of President Obama, Eric Holder, and the Obama administration at large. Running off to Malta and making jokes about the Obamcare decision shows a basic lack of class and sensitivity to the American people which is consistent with the Obama administration.

    This country is in big trouble.

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