Yesterday was the beginning of the Supreme Court’s new term, and you can see that the justices are starting to feel the heat. They’re out there defending the institution before having written any controversial decisions, but what they do decide could have a significant impact on the 2022 election, as it becomes apparent how conservative this court is and how out of step they are with the voters.
- Amy Coney Barrett led us off in early September by giving a speech to students at the ironically-named McConnell Center at the University of Louisville, trying to convince them that the Court “is not comprised of a bunch of partisan hacks.” Yeah, good luck with that.
- Stephen Breyer — who is now getting enormous pressure from the left to not make the same mistake that Ruth Bader Ginsburg made and not retire too late — supported Justice Barrett in a dialog with Washington Post columnist David Ignatius.
- Then Justice Clarence Thomas got into the act, lecturing at University of Notre Dame later in September arguing that we need to preserve the “independence” of the Supreme Court. That was rich coming from Thomas, the most partisan member of the court, and whose wife Ginni is a known “Tea Party” republican hack.
- Finally, at the end of September Justice Samuel Alito delivered a withering attack on critics of the “shadow docket” in another speech at the University of Notre Dame Law School.
The Court has reasons to be concerned, because public opinion of their performance is at record lows. Also, the Court is guaranteed to make news this year because they are hearing a number of very controversial cases this year. That includes a case (NY State Rifle & Pistol Assoc. v. Corlett) that requires individuals to get a license to carry a concealed gun outside the home and an abortion case (Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization) which doesn’t even involve the famous Texas law.
More than one commentator has noted that the Supreme Court is substantially out of step with what the majority of the American people believe. And more than one commentator has noted that Trump’s most lasting legacy — with a huge assist from Mitch McConnell — is likely to be the additions he has made to the court.
No, we need to increase the pressure, the court needs to feel the heat. The court needs to know that we are watching and we need to bring the heat.
Finally, while I’m not a huge fan of court packing, I do think that it’s high time that justices are limited to a specific number of years, such as 24 year terms. That’s long enough. Clarence Thomas has been on the court for 30 years and he’s only 73. I thought he would have been dead by now, with all the hatred in his heart, but no such luck.