Saturday, October 06, 2018


In The New York Times, Adam Liptak writes:
The justices [of the Supreme Court] insist that they discern and apply neutral legal principles without regard to politics. There is ample evidence to the contrary, but the court’s legitimacy rests on public confidence that the court is not, in the end, a political institution....

Judge Kavanaugh’s own testimony, laced with fiery attacks on Democrats, ... undermined public confidence in the court, said Stephen Gillers, a law professor at New York University.

“It pulled the cloak off the Wizard of Oz,” he said. “The court has a mystique all its own. Kavanaugh’s behavior at the latest confirmation hearing shattered that mystique. It’s going to be hard for the court to come back from that.”
At Politico, Robert Post, a former dean of Yale School, writes:
Kavanaugh apparently cared more about his promotion than about preserving the dignity of the Supreme Court to which he aspired to join....

No one who felt the force of [his] anger could possibly believe that Kavanaugh might actually be a detached and impartial judge. Each and every Republican who votes for Kavanaugh, therefore, effectively announces that they care more about controlling the Supreme Court than they do about the legitimacy of the court itself. There will be hell to pay.
No, there won't be hell to pay. Republicans have demonstrated that they see public confidence in institutions as an expendable luxury. Americans will now lose confidence in the Supreme Court as they've lost confidence in Congress, the presidency, and our electoral system. Republicans don't care. They control all these institutions, which do what they want done. That's all that matters to them.

What's the approval rating of Congress? It's 19%, according to Gallup. Gallup polls this question monthly, and the number has been 20% or less every month since Republicans took over the House in January 2011.

And that's working out just fine for them. They got their tax cut this year. The Republican Senate has put dozens of far-right judges on the courts, including two on the Supreme Court. Obamacare repeal could happen in the lame-duck session. Who needs public respect for the institution?

Republicans have persuaded much of the country that our electoral system is corrupted by massive amounts of voter fraud, even as they do nothing to prevent Russian interference in elections -- but elections have been going Republicans' way for years, so it's all good. (If elections don't go Republicans' way this year, they can yell and scream about a corrupted system.)

Republicans elected a president who dishonors the presidency at every opportunity. So what? He's signing the bills they want and appointing the judges they want.

So we should all stop saying that institutions are being damaged as if we expect anyone in power to care. The people who run the government have calculated that respected institutions simply aren't necessary.

No comments: