Mar 27, 2023

Part II: It Will Take a Political Movement to Reform a Politicized Supreme Court

It is time to revive Franklin Roosevelt’s court-expansion plan in defense of democracy and the rule of law. FILE - Nikki Tran of Washington, holds up a sign with pictures of Supreme Court Justices Thomas, Kavanaugh, Samuel Alito, Amy Coney Barrett, and Neil Gorsuch, as demonstrators protest outside of the U.S. Supreme Court, Tuesday, May 3, 2022, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)

This is the concluding feature story in the multi-part Dig series, “The Supreme Court’s War on the Future,” investigating how the Supreme Court was remade in the image of Robert Bork.

The radical right’s long crusade to capture the Supreme Court is over. Anyone who doesn’t realize this hasn’t been paying attention, or has imbibed the Kool-Aid served by Chief Justice John Roberts at his 2005 Senate confirmation hearing, when he promised to work as a neutral arbiter on the bench much like a baseball umpire, calling only “balls and strike, and not to pitch or bat.”

Instead of minding the strike zone, Roberts and his Republican confederates old and new have changed the rules of the game in a concerted effort to drive the country backward. Under the aegis of the regressive legal theory of “originalism” (see Part I of this series), they have issued a blistering succession of reactionary rulings on voting rightsgerrymanderingunion organizing, the death penaltyenvironmental protectiongun controlabortion, campaign finance, and the use of dark money in politics. Before the court’s current term concludes at the end of June, it likely will wreak more havoc in a series of pending cases on “religious liberty” and LGBTQ discrimination, affirmative action, student-debt forgiveness, and, once again, voting rights.

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Dec 19, 2022

Part I: Robert Bork’s Revenge

How the Supreme Court was remade in the image of the original Originalist. Robert Bork smoking a cigarette superimposed in front of the Supreme Court building which is drenched in red light.

This is the first of a multi-part Dig series, The Supreme Court’s War on the Future, investigating how the Supreme Court was remade in the image of Robert Bork.

The Supreme Court and the Road to Minority Rule

We like to think of the Supreme Court as the guardian of fairness, protector of the little guy and upholder of the rule of law. It isn’t. With the exception of the Warren Court era and its immediate aftermath, throughout most of our history, the court has been the protector of the wealthy and the powerful, a defender of slavery (Dred Scott), racism (Plessy, Korematsu) and historical distortion (Heller on the Second Amendment). In the first article, I’ll explain how the Supreme Court has returned to its historical roots as an undemocratic, elitist and backward institution.

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