In 2022 the Supreme Court threw away an opportunity to ameliorate the toxic polarization of America. After the unseemly gamesmanship that led to the appointments of Neil Gorsuch and Amy Coney Barrett, the new conservative majority should have looked for opportunities to, as Barrett said shortly after her confirmation, “convince you that this court is not comprised of a bunch of partisan hacks.”
Instead, it has become perhaps the most politically extreme and partisan court in American history.
I wasn’t enthusiastic about President Trump’s three appointees, but I was impressed by their intellectual quality and did not join the liberal stampede to oppose them. I hoped that they would understand the delicate position they were in and would act accordingly. I have been bitterly disappointed.
Trump’s first secretary of defense, James Mattis, must have had similar hopes when he took that job. A few years later, he found himself saying: “Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people — does not even pretend to try.” He could have been talking about today’s court.
The dramatic decision to overrule federal abortion rights is only the tip of a very large iceberg of rightwing triumphalism. The court has been so sympathetic to a libertarian philosophy that appears nowhere in the Constitution that it has devised vague new rules that constrain…Read More
Andrew Koppelman, John Paul Stevens Professor of Law at Northwestern University, is the author of “Burning Down the House: How Libertarian Philosophy Was Corrupted by Delusion and Greed” (St. Martin’s Press). Follow him on Twitter @AndrewKoppelman.