Roberts sparks backlash from conservative senators with DACA ruling

Conservative senators are fuming over the Supreme Court's ruling blocking President TrumpDonald John TrumpWhite House sued over lack of sign language interpreters at coronavirus briefings Wife blames Trump, lack of masks for husband's coronavirus death in obit: 'May Karma find you all' Trump authorizes reduced funding for National Guard coronavirus response through 2020 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 CottonOn The Trail: The first signs of a post-Trump GOP The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Brawls on Capitol Hill on Barr and COVID-19 Hillicon Valley: Tech CEOs brace for House grilling | Senate GOP faces backlash over election funds | Twitter limits Trump Jr.'s account MORE (R-Ark.) said Roberts was posturing as a "Solomon who will save our institutions from political controversy and accountability."

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"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 CruzOn The Trail: The first signs of a post-Trump GOP Trump tests GOP loyalty with election tweet and stimulus strategy Republicans dismiss Trump proposal to delay election 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 urged Supreme Court to avoid decisions on Trump finances, abortion: report Should we judge judges by whether their decisions appeal to us? The Supreme Court is no ally to reproductive rights MORE on the Monday ruling.

Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioTrump putting TikTok ban on hold for 45 days: report The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the Air Line Pilots Association - Biden VP possible next week; Meadows says relief talks 'miles apart' Pompeo: Trump taking action on Chinese software firms 'in coming days' MORE (R-Fla.) said that the Supreme Court increasingly "appears to be legislating."

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"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 HawleySenate GOP divided over whether they'd fill Supreme Court vacancy  McConnell: 15-20 GOP senators will not vote for any coronavirus deal Trump plans to order Chinese company to sell TikTok's US operations: reports 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. 

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Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsObama announces first wave of 2020 endorsements Senate GOP divided over whether they'd fill Supreme Court vacancy  On The Trail: The first signs of a post-Trump GOP MORE (R-Maine) called it "positive news for Dreamers." Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann Murkowski300 green groups say Senate has 'moral duty' to reject Trump's public lands nominee Senate GOP divided over whether they'd fill Supreme Court vacancy  On The Money: Unemployment benefits to expire as coronavirus talks deadlock | Meadows, Pelosi trade criticism on stalled stimulus talks | Coronavirus recession hits Social Security, Medicare, highway funding 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.