Chief Justice John Roberts

Supreme Court Finally Holds Trump Administration Responsible For Its Pathological Lying

Or rather Chief Justice John Roberts does

Eric J Scholl
5 min readJun 28, 2019


In a 5–4 decision, the Supreme Court ruled that the reason the Trump Administration gave for wanting to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census was indeed pretextual. (Accepted synonyms for pretext: excuse, guise, ploy, ruse, cover story, red herring.)

Here’s Chief Justice John Roberts, writing in the majority opinion (in which he was the deciding vote), summing it up better (and more gently) than we ever could, referring to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross:

Several points, considered together, reveal a significant mismatch between the decision the Secretary made, and the rationale he provided.”

In other words, Ross is a liar.

All the other Conservative Justices, including Trump’s two appointees, Gorsuch and Kavanaugh, would’ve let Trump have his way, despite the easily provable lies about why the citizenship question was being put there in the first place.

But Roberts drew the line (at least for now) where it needs to be drawn: at out-and-out bald-faced lying of a form completely disrespectful of U.S. citizens and the courts. We think University of Texas Law Professor Steve Vladeck aptly describes the process leading to the decision:

Five Justices had no problem with asking a citizenship question in the abstract, but the Trump administration did such a bad job of covering its tracks that the Chief Justice couldn’t stomach it

And here’s the independent Scotusblog, summing up the significance of the decision better than we ever could:

As we’ve asserted before: this has nothing to do with whether you think there should be a citizenship question on the census or not. This has to do with a pattern of lying, and then trying to cover up lies that have become endemic to this administration. Starting from the top down. Period.

But, there is a catch that theoretically could give Trump some daylight. And that’s this…



Eric J Scholl

Peabody award winning journalist. Streaming media pioneer. Played @ CBGB back in the day. Editor-In-Chief "The Chaos Report"