Roberts sparks backlash from conservative senators with DACA ruling

Conservative senators are fuming over the Supreme Court's ruling blocking President TrumpDonald TrumpSacha Baron Cohen calls out 'danger of lies, hate and conspiracies' in Golden Globes speech Sorkin uses Abbie Hoffman quote to condemn Capitol violence: Democracy is 'something you do' Ex-Trump aide Pierson planning run for Congress MORE's plan to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, and, in particular, Chief Justice John Roberts, who wrote the opinion.

The 5-4 ruling was the latest blow to both the Trump administration and judicial conservatives on Capitol Hill, after a Monday decision that workers can’t be fired for being gay or transgender.

Sen. Tom CottonTom Bryant CottonSenate mulls changes to .9 trillion coronavirus bill Trump seeks to cement hold on GOP Sunday shows preview: 2024 hopefuls gather at CPAC; House passes coronavirus relief; vaccine effort continues MORE (R-Ark.) said Roberts was posturing as a "Solomon who will save our institutions from political controversy and accountability."


"If the Chief Justice believes his political judgment is so exquisite, I invite him to resign, travel to Iowa, and get elected. I suspect voters will find his strange views no more compelling than do the principled justices on the Court," Cotton said.

Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzFive takeaways from CPAC 2021 Trump wins CPAC straw poll with 55 percent 'SNL' envisions Fauci as game show host, giving winners vaccines MORE (R-Texas) railed against Roberts during a Senate floor speech.

“Judging is not a game. It’s not supposed to be a game but sadly over recent years more and more, Chief Justice Roberts has been playing games with the court to achieve the policy outcomes he desires,” Cruz said.

Roberts sided with the court's liberal wing on Thursday when it blocked the Trump administration's plan to end an Obama-era program that shields nearly 700,000 young undocumented immigrants from deportation.

Roberts also joined Trump nominee Justice Neil GorsuchNeil GorsuchKavanaugh dismays conservatives by dodging pro-Trump election lawsuits The Jan. 6 case for ending the Senate filibuster Laurence Tribe: Justice Thomas is out of order on 2020 election MORE on the Monday ruling.

Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioCPAC, all-in for Trump, is not what it used to be Watch live: Day 2 at CPAC DeSantis derides 'failed Republican establishment' at CPAC MORE (R-Fla.) said that the Supreme Court increasingly "appears to be legislating."


"What really troubles a lot of people is that some of the folks that the Republican Party has put on this bench ... because they say that they understand that their job is to interpret the law, not to write it, are becoming activists," Rubio said. "It's concerning."

When a reporter noted that it sounded like he was frustrated with Roberts, Rubio added: "Obviously Roberts has been at the core at some of these decisions."

Sen. Josh HawleyJoshua (Josh) David HawleyFive takeaways from CPAC 2021 CPAC, all-in for Trump, is not what it used to be Sunday shows preview: 2024 hopefuls gather at CPAC; House passes coronavirus relief; vaccine effort continues MORE (R-Mo.), in a tweet, said that it was the "most disappointing week" for the Supreme Court in years.

"The problem here is what you've essentially done is you've said ... one administration can put in a set of rules by executive fiat but then another administration ... can't reverse those rules," Hawley said.

Asked if he was disappointed in Roberts, Hawley added that he thought justices were capable but he was "disappointed in the decision for sure."

"I'm disappointed with this pattern that we're seeing," he added. "This is not a good week for textualists."

It’s hardly the first time Roberts, who was appointed to the court by President George W. Bush, has rankled Republicans.

Roberts joined with the court’s liberal wing in 2019 when it ruled that the Trump administration did not give an adequate reason for adding a citizenship question to the 2020 census, blocking the question for at least the time being.

He also joined with the liberal wing in a 2012 ruling that upheld Obamacare’s individual mandate, a decision that is still quick to spark conservative anger.

Cruz, on Thursday, compared the DACA decision to the health care ruling.

“That’s not clever. That’s lawless. The decision today was lawless. It was gamesmanship,” Cruz added.

While the conservative senators were frustrated by the Supreme Court's ruling, other Republicans praised the decision. 


Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsSenate mulls changes to .9 trillion coronavirus bill Sasse rebuked by Nebraska Republican Party over impeachment vote Collins urges Biden to revisit order on US-Canada border limits MORE (R-Maine) called it "positive news for Dreamers." Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiNew super PAC aims to support lawmakers who voted to impeach or convict Trump Kinzinger: GOP 'certainly not united' on 'vision for the future' Graham: Trump will 'be helpful' to all Senate GOP incumbents MORE (R-Alaska) told reporters that "it was a good day."

"I’m not going to say that Judge Roberts is less of a conservative because of his opinion on this," she added.

--Updated at 8:35 p.m.