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Chief justice says partisan battles over nominees "real danger" for Supreme Court

Chief Justice John Roberts warned Tuesday that the highly partisan climate will have consequences for the judicial branch of government.

“It is a real danger that the partisan hostility that people see in the political branches will infect the nonpartisan activity of the judicial branch,” the Supreme Court justice said at an event at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Upstate New York.

“It is very difficult, I think, for a member of the public to look at what goes on in confirmation hearings these days, which is a very sharp conflict in political terms between Democrats and Republicans, and not think that the person who comes out of that process must similarly share that partisan view of public issues and public life,” Roberts said, according to the Washington Examiner.

Roberts’ remarks come after Neil Gorsuch was sworn in on Monday as an associate justice on the high court, filling the ninth seat that was left vacant since the sudden death of Justice Antonin Scalia. 

Gorsuch was confirmed by the Senate last week after Democrats tried to use the filibuster to block his nomination and Republicans decided to invoke the “nuclear option,” eliminating the 60-vote threshold required to confirm Supreme Court nominees.

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