June 29, 2022
Below is my column on the growing attacks on the legitimacy of the Supreme Court after the decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. As the Court ends its term, Democratic leaders are calling for removing justices, packing the Court, and other extreme reactions to the decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.
Here is the column:
For justices, the end of a Supreme Court term usually brings welcomed vacations and speaking engagements out of town. This week it seemed more like the justices were fleeing the jurisdiction with a mob at their heels. Six justices (and their homes) are targeted because they dared to interpret the Constitution in a way that is opposed by many in the political, media, and academic establishment. After the overturning of Roe v. Wade, many called for impeachments, court packing, and “disciplining” justices. What is chilling, however, is that these calls have not come from extremist groups but political and media figures who are challenging the very “legitimacy” of the Supreme Court.
The Madisonian democracy is based on the premise that, despite our factional divisions, the Constitution creates an interest in all groups in preserving the system. While the Constitution does not guarantee that your views will prevail in Congress or the courts, it has proven the most stable and successful democratic system in history. We are all invested in that system which has achieved transformative changes over time in our laws and our society.
The Constitution is neither poetic nor pretentious in its language. It was written by the ultimate wonk in Madison. It has only one thing to recommend it: we are still here. We have survived periods of war, economic collapse, and social discord that broke other systems.
Politicians and the press have thrived under this system and have historically defended its legitimacy even when demanding major changes in our laws. We are now witnessing a crisis of faith with the political and media establishment declaring the highest court to be illegitimate. All because they disagree with a constitutional interpretation adopted by the majority of its members.