Chief Justice John Roberts Saturday spoke at a judicial conference in Colorado Springs in his first public appearance since the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision, Colleen Slevin of AP News reported. The controversial ruling overturned Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey and established that there is no constitutional right to abortion in the United States.
At the conference, Judge Timothy M. Tymkovich and Judge Jerome A. Holmes of the US Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals interviewed Roberts. Roberts defended the legitimacy of the Supreme Court and the Court’s authority to interpret the Constitution. Roberts stated:
If the court doesn’t retain its legitimate function of interpreting the Constitution, I’m not sure who would take up that mantle. You don’t want the political branches telling you what the law is, and you don’t want public opinion to be the guide about what the appropriate decision is…
Roberts also announced that the public will be allowed to attend oral arguments in the Supreme Court’s upcoming October term. This will mark the Court’s first reopening to the public since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. In response to a leaked Dobbs draft in May, protests erupted at the Supreme Court and at the homes of the justices. Barriers erected during the protests will not be in place for the October term.
Since the Dobbs decision, states have become a battleground of lawsuits challenging abortion bans and laws protecting women’s abortion rights. Last month, Planned Parenthood Great Northwest, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the ACLU of Indiana and other organizations filed a lawsuit challenging Indiana’s abortion ban.