Chief Justice John Roberts defended the Supreme Court on Friday, saying its rulings on controversial issues like abortion and gun rights should not impact its legitimacy among the American public.

“The court has always decided controversial cases and decisions have always been subject to intense criticism, and that is entirely appropriate,” Roberts told an audience of lawyers and judges at the 10th Circuit Bench and Bar Conference in Colorado Springs, Colorado, “But I don’t understand the connection between the opinions people disagree with and the legitimacy of the Supreme Court.”

“Simply because people disagree with opinions, is not a basis for questioning the legitimacy of the court,” he added, the news site Colorado Politics reported.

Roberts said the protests following the court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, rolling back federal abortion protections, had left him deeply troubled.

“It was gut wrenching every morning to drive into a Supreme Court with barricades around it,” he said.

Abortion-rights advocates protest near Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s home in Chevy Chase, Maryland on May 11, 2022.
Abortion-rights advocates protest near Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s home in Chevy Chase, Maryland on May 11, 2022.
Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images
Activists with The Center for Popular Democracy Action hold photos of U.S. Supreme Court justices as they block an intersection during a demonstration in front of the U.S. Supreme Court on December 01, 2021 in Washington, DC.
Chief Justice John Roberts is concerned about hostile protests against Supreme Court justices.
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

In his remarks, Roberts also praised incoming Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, who will be formally sworn in on Sept. 30. “She is going to be a wonderful justice,” Roberts said.



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