Brinkley: Justice Roberts's 'Great Intellect' May Move Him Left

October 7th, 2018 6:25 PM

Appearing on Saturday's CNN Newsroom to discuss Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court, CNN presidential historian Douglas Brinkley predicted that he will have a "stain" that he will "carry for the rest of his life," and suggested that conservative Chief Justice John Roberts may move further to the left because he has "great intellect," as if intelligence implies being more liberal.



At 1:09 p.m. Eastern, fill-in host Ryan Nobles recalled that Chief Justice Roberts "has been willing to not necessarily go down the political party line with some of his votes," and wondered if having a more conservative replacement to retired Justice Anthony Kennedy might cause Roberts to "change his behavior."

Brinkley began by cautioning that, "if you're on the liberal of the equation," "I don't want to be too hopeful about that."

He then noted that "Roberts is a rock-ribbed conservative, you know, Federalist Society jurist, but he is a person of great intellect and someone who may very well surprise us," adding that he may be "somebody we can count on to try to make the Supreme Court less partisan."

After Nobles brought up the possibility that Democrats will hound Justice Kavanaugh by pursuing impeachment, Lydia Wheeler of The Hill declared that Kavanaugh "showed a level of partisanship that is unusual for nominees to the Supreme Court" when he reacted to Dr. Christine Blasey Ford's sexual assault accusations.

When Brinkley was given his turn, he predicted: "It's just like Clarence Thomas. If you say his name, we don't really know about his decisions. People just remember Anita Hill. This is the stigma -- the stain that Justice Kavanaugh is going to carry for the rest of his life."