The Wall Street Journal: Roberts says Supreme Court remains independent, nonpartisan

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MINNEAPOLIS — Chief Justice John Roberts on Tuesday sought to quell some of the furor surrounding the Supreme Court and the confirmation of Justice Brett Kavanaugh, telling a college audience that the court remains an independent, nonpolitical institution in which justices are committed to working together.

The chief justice, making his first public remarks on the Kavanaugh saga, took the stage in front of a packed auditorium of nearly 3,000 at the University of Minnesota and said he wanted to first address “the contentious events in Washington in recent weeks.”

“I will not criticize the political branches. We do that often enough in our opinions,” Roberts said to laughter. “But what I would like to do briefly is emphasize how the judicial branch is, how it must be, very different.” The chief justice said it was essential that the court remains independent and not yield to politics.

“As our newest colleague put it, we do not sit on opposite sides of an aisle, we do not caucus in separate rooms, we do not serve one party or one interest,” Roberts said, paraphrasing from an op-ed Kavanaugh wrote in The Wall Street Journal. “We serve one nation. And I want to assure all of you that we will continue to do that to the best of our abilities, whether times are calm or contentious.”

An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com.

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