@Jarek-Tuszynski via Flickr
Enlarge the U.S. Supreme Court or surrender to right-wing radicalism: E.J. Dionne, Jr.
Now comes the deluge. The radicalism of this 6-3 majority is obvious. It has been well-documented most recently by my Post colleague Ruth Marcus, Slate’s Dahlia Lithwick and Linda Greenhouse in the New York Times. As they have warned, the extremism, the indifference to precedent, the twisting of the law, the imposition of ideology by judicial fiat — it’s all likely to get much worse.
What the right wing understands that liberals have mostly forgotten is that reshaping rules and institutions can determine outcomes in advance, undermining democratic decision-making. The trappings of democracy remain, but real power is vested in the hands of those who bent the rules to predetermine the results, writes E.J. Dionne, Jr. in the Washington Post.
Liberals are at a special disadvantage when it comes to confronting a radically conservative Supreme Court because most of them are, by nature, institutionalists. They are wary of upsetting long-standing arrangements for fear of mimicking the destructive behavior of the other side and, in the process, legitimizing it.
But the aggressiveness of the right has turned this procedural delicacy into a rationalization for surrender.
Conservatives have abused the process of seating (and blocking) judges again and again. The current 6-3 right-leaning conservative Republican majority on the Supreme Court — let’s call the partisanship by its name — would be a 5-4 moderately liberal Democratic majority if Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) had observed the long-standing norms surrounding appointments.
Without fear or shame, McConnell (1) blocked consideration of then-President Barack Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland, to replace Antonin Scalia for 10 months until Donald Trump took the oath of office in 2017 and could name Neil M. Gorsuch; and (2) McConnell rushed through Trump’s final appointee, Amy Coney Barrett, holding a confirmation vote just eight days before Election Day 2020 — even as millions had already cast their ballots.
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