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Aug. 6, 2020, 11:34 a.m. EDT

‘Chief Justice John Roberts has been a disappointment to conservatives,’ says Mike Pence

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By Mark DeCambre

That was Vice President Mike Pence speaking to Christian Broadcast Network on Wednesday about Chief Justice John Roberts and the perception that the nation’s No. 1 jurist hasn’t fulfilled conservative hopes with recent Supreme Court decisions.

“I think several cases out of the Supreme Court are a reminder of just how important this election is for the future of the Supreme Court,” Pence told the broadcaster’s chief political analyst, David Brody.

Pence’s comments appeared intended to center potential selections of future Supreme Court justices in President Donald Trump’s bid for a second term in the Oval Office, with polls showing the incumbent, despite the continued backing of most evangelicals, trailing Democrat Joe Biden by a nearly double-digit percentage nationally.

Roberts, who was appointed by Republican President George W. Bush in 2005, notably voted with Democratic appointees in the Supreme Court late last month as the court denied a rural Nevada church’s request to strike down a 50-person cap on worship services as part of the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Roberts, like Biden, is a practicing Roman Catholic.)

A r eport in the Guardian in June referred to Roberts as the Supreme Court’s new swing vote, noting that faith among conservative leaders in the Chief Justice has “been shaky ever since he prevented the court from gutting Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act in 2015.”

Roberts’s decisions of late have elicited reactions like this tweet from Sen. Tom Cotton, who characterized the justice as acting like “a politician”:

Biden leads Trump by 6.4 percentage points in the latest Real Clear Politics poll average, though some sources observe that the president’s position has stabilized of late.

That comes as the S&P 500 index /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX -0.15% is within striking distance of new record, and the Nasdaq Composite Index /zigman2/quotes/210598365/realtime COMP -0.07% has registered 31 record highs so far in 2020 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average /zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime DJIA -0.07% is trading around its highest level since early June.

The rally in stocks defies weakness in the U.S. economy with millions of Americans are still out of work and struggling to make ends meet.

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