Monday, May 09, 2022

Anti-Democratic Justices

The Supreme Court of the United States is anti-democratic. E.J. Dionne writes:

If the Supreme Court adopts the substance of Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr.’s draft ruling ending the constitutional right to abortion, the conservative majority’s radicalism will deepen the crisis of American democracy and further divide an already torn country.

There is an irony to this since, in principle, the Alito opinion is all about democracy. “It is time,” he writes, “to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.”

It has been a long journey to this outcome:

Even as they harvested pro-life votes, conservatives engaged in a deceptive two-step. Except for Donald Trump, who said outright that “I will be appointing pro-life judges,” Republican politicians typically veiled their intentions behind abstract promises to back “strict constructionists” who wouldn’t “legislate from the bench.”

The justices themselves were equally cagey during their confirmation hearings. They never told us they thought Roe was wrongly decided. On the contrary, they spoke of their great respect for precedent, often at length. Whether you call this lying or not, it was certainly intentional misdirection and evasion. The last thing Trump’s appointees wanted was an extended debate on what overturning Roe would mean.

Even now, most Republican politicians don’t want to talk about Roe. That’s because they know how unpopular eviscerating abortion rights would be. So they focus instead on how horrible it is that a draft opinion leaked out of the court.

The decision on Roe is not the only anti-democratic decision the court has made:

The court’s conservative majority has sabotaged all manner of democratically enacted laws: environmental and labor regulations, limits on the role of money in politics. The court’s decisions on voting rights and gerrymandering are anti-democratic on their face since they enable minority rule in the states that would be legislating on abortion. And the justices’ refusal to be candid about their designs on Roe matters. They prioritized their own confirmations over the imperative of a necessary national dialogue on the flaws and virtues of a controversial ruling they apparently intended to scrap.

If Americans expect justice from their Supreme Court, they're as deluded as the most recent ex-president of the United States.

Image: Supreme Court


Toby said...

There's an interesting theory about this. The anti abortion crowd are a major source of funds for politicians who tow their line. If the Supreme Court nullifies Roe that source of funds will dry up. That could take the punch out of the American hard right.

I'm not holding my breath on it but maybe . . .

Owen Gray said...

The Right has been aiming to kill Roe for a long time, Toby. I suspect that, after they kill Roe, they'll move on to other targets like the marriage -- of non-traditional partners.

The Disaffected Lib said...

The rot took hold with the court's farcical decision in Citzens United. That caused a brief uproar of protest but it passed. Emboldened, the court wasted no time in dismantling affirmative action and voting rights protections. The gerrymandered Republican Senate rejoiced. Schumer hasn't been able to reverse McConnell's excesses and no one is sure what lies in store for America if the Republicans stage a comeback in the mid-terms.

Owen Gray said...

The only thing for certain in the United States is that big money rules the day, Mound. And that goes back to Citizens United.

Trailblazer said...

no one is sure what lies in store for America if the Republicans stage a comeback in the mid-terms......

O dear; time to build wall on the 49th!!


Owen Gray said...

What did Trudeau the Elder day, TB? "There is no place for the government in the bedrooms of the nation."

Northern PoV said...

Quibble re Mound's comment

"decision in Citzens United. "

That was 2010.

Almost 10 years after Bush vs Gore when the rot was already well advanced.

Owen Gray said...

True, PoV. Bush v. Gore established minority rule.