Conservative activism from the highest court
“Chief Justice Roberts is Wrong” is the headline for a piece by Washington Post columnist and former George W. Bush speech writer Marc A. Thiessen.
I was right with him in the first few paragraphs. Judge Justice Roberts was wrong to say the president was incorrect to categorize judges as “Obama” or “Trump.” Roberts said politics plays no part with the Supreme Court and that all of their decisions derive from the letter of the law. But Thiessen points out that Barack Obama’s nomination to replace Antonin Scalia was blocked for months and that the Dems in the Senate did everything they could to block Brett Kavanaugh from the court. And Donald Trump and Sen. McConnell are now filling dozens of vacant judgeships with conservatives handpicked by the Federalist Society. But then few Americans have any idea what the Federalist Society is or does; we should.
The rest of the Thiessen column moves into the realm of the mythology that conservatives peddle about “judicial philosophy.” The righties claim to use the “original” constitution, and the liberals are “activists” that “overreach” and make things up.
The Iraq war got me more interested in politics. I was very familiar with the Vietnam War, and I saw the same propaganda techniques coming from the Bush administration. I learned that there is a simple rule that is usually effective: When conservatives blame others, it is because that is just what they themselves are either doing or planning.
Therefore, the “activism” at the Supreme Court is really all from the right wing. The decisions Bush v. Gore in 2000; District of Columbia v. Heller in 2008; Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission in 2010; National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius in 2012; and Shelby County v. Holder in 2013 are some of the most radical in history, all by the same 5-4 votes.