Maybe not Audacious, but Supreme

Look ma, an argument against the imperial Supreme Court without the crutches of w-w (trigger warning – not written by a Protestant):

Brown is the most important decision ever rendered by the United States Supreme Court. Its significance lies much less in its impact on the civil rights movement, which was indirect at most, than in establishing the idea that the judicial branch holds a monopoly on constitutional interpretation. Though controversial in 1954, the Segregation Cases (as Brown was initially called) are today almost universally regarded as the epitome of judicial wisdom and courage. Because the Supreme Court did what is considered so obviously right when the rest of the political system would not, it came to be considered preeminent among the three branches of the federal government.

It is still living off the moral capital acquired in Brown. Three years after that decision, the Court, enforcing the desegregation of Little Rock High School in Arkansas, went so far as to assert that its interpretation of the Constitution was the Constitution, the “supreme law of the land.” In 1992, the majority wrote in Planned Parenthood v. Casey:

The American people’s belief in themselves . . . as a people who aspire to live according to the rule of law is not readily separable from their understanding of the Court invested with the authority to decide their constitutional cases and speak before all others for their constitutional ideals.

In other words, the rule of law depends on the rule of judges. The American people and their elected officials have largely acquiesced in this usurpation. Public opinion polls show that the Court is near the top of institutions that Americans trust—way above Congress and the media, behind only the police, the military, and small business.

See? It is possible to reach politically conservative positions without resorting to theology or the Bible. In fact, theologians and pastors who write about politics as theologians and pastors usually let theology and the Bible get in the way of the Constitution.


Last Minute Election Advice

Since chances for Congress electing POTUS are non-existent (for now), Old Lifers may want to take this counsel to the polls tomorrow:

Here’s the most shocking illustration of the GOP’s Supreme Court problem: in the 19 years between Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, Republicans lost only one presidential race. The Court that decided Casey in 1992 included two Bush I appointees (Clarence Thomas and David Souter) and four Reagan appointees (William Rehnquist, Antonin Scalia, Sandra Day O’Connor, and Kennedy), in addition to a Ford appointee (John Paul Stevens) and a Nixon appointee (Harry Blackmun). Only one justice had been appointed by a Democrat, and that was Byron White, who’d dissented from Roe and supported overturning it.

And yet the Court upheld a constitutional right to abortion, though Roe’s seven-vote consensus for such a right was whittled down to five and several restrictions were also upheld. Three of the justices who helped keep Roe alive were consistent liberals during their time on the Court despite having been appointed by Republicans.