Roberts Cites Magna Carta in Williams-Yulee

April 29th, 2015

In November, the Chief Justice told advocates not to cite Magna Carta.

“If you’re citing Magna Carta in a brief before the Supreme Court of the United States, or in an argument, you’re in pretty bad shape,” Chief Justice Roberts said. “We like our authorities a little more current.”

Today in Williams-Yulee, he cited Magna Carta.

The way the Canon advances those interests is intuitive: Judges, charged with exercising strict neutrality and independ- ence, cannot supplicate campaign donors without diminishing public confidence in judicial integrity. This princi- ple dates back at least eight centuries to Magna Carta, which proclaimed, “To no one will we sell, to no one will we refuse or delay, right or justice.” Cl. 40 (1215), in W. McKechnie, Magna Carta, A Commentary on the Great Charter of King John 395 (2d ed. 1914).

Happy 800th Birthday Great Charter!