Today’s Must Read: Dahlia Lithwick on John Roberts’ Big Test in the Census Case

Dahlia at Slate:

That Trump is now reportedly considering putting the citizenship question back onto the census by way of an executive order is a natural reaction to Roberts’ compromise resolution. It’s a shockingly aggressive move that seems doomed to fail, but do read it for what it really is: Trump is threatening the chief justice, claiming for himself absolute authority to overrule the court. The Washington Post is telling us that Trump’s advisers don’t want him to back down, so his government lawyers spent the Fourth of July building better pretexts.

And so now it seems Trump will have his season finale smackdown with the chief, the man he has never forgiven for his vote in the Obamacare cases. And Roberts, who probably believed he had settled this issue last week, must now decide, again, whether it’s worth his while to let the circus clown tear down the institution he prizes above all things. It’s lose-lose for the chief justice, win-win for the president, and a boon for ratings all around. 


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