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Ex-Federal Judge Criticizes John Roberts in New Book and Reveals Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Displeasure with Retirement Pressure



Retired US Appeals Court Judge David Tatel, a former civil rights lawyer and nearly 30-year veteran of the country’s “second highest court,” criticizes the current Supreme Court and Chief Justice John Roberts in his new memoir. In his candid book, Tatel particularly criticizes Roberts’ opinions on race, including the elimination of voting rights protections, a core plank of America’s civil rights revolution. He believes that the Supreme Court has abandoned precedent and become a detriment to civil rights and the rule of law. Tatel also shares insights from private conversations with the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, where she discussed the pressure she felt to retire while a Democrat was still president.

Tatel’s book, “Vision: A Memoir of Blindness and Justice,” chronicles his legal career and journey towards acceptance of his blindness arising from retinal disease. In his book, Tatel expresses concerns about the Supreme Court’s disregard for judicial restraint and its implications for democracy. Despite being a sitting judge, Tatel is now writing with newfound frankness and independence, pointing out the current court’s rejection of racial diversity and remedial measures. He is critical of Roberts’ decisions that curtail voting rights and integration efforts, emphasizing the importance of addressing discrimination on the basis of race.

Tatel’s legal ideology is deeply rooted in America’s civil rights era, and he has a background in civil rights advocacy. He has served in various roles related to civil rights, focusing on important separation-of-powers disputes and regulatory matters. While reflecting on his legal journey and struggles with blindness, Tatel raises concerns about the changes in the Supreme Court’s direction under Roberts’ leadership. He highlights Roberts’ decisions that have negatively impacted civil rights initiatives and racial equality efforts in the country.

In his book, Tatel also discusses the behind-the-scenes dealings that led to the landmark 2013 Shelby County v. Holder decision, which undermined the Voting Rights Act. He recounts Ginsburg’s revelations about the compromises and decisions made by justices in previous cases related to voting rights. Tatel believes that these compromises ultimately paved the way for the erosion of important civil rights protections. Ginsburg’s death in 2020 and the subsequent appointment of Amy Coney Barrett by Trump highlight the shift in the court’s composition and the impact it has had on key legal issues like abortion rights.

Throughout his book, Tatel offers personal anecdotes and insights into his interactions with various Supreme Court justices, including Ginsburg. He shares moments where Ginsburg reached out to him regarding his cases that came before the Supreme Court, highlighting their professional relationship. Tatel’s decision to retire after President Joe Biden took office reflects his frustration with a Supreme Court that he believes does not uphold the principles he has dedicated his life to. His memoir serves as a critical commentary on the current state of the judiciary and its implications for civil rights and democracy in the United States.

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