Even David Brooks Concedes That the Supreme Court Votes Republican

A blog about politics, sports, media, stuff
Jan. 7 2011 10:27 AM

Even David Brooks Concedes That the Supreme Court Votes Republican

In his op-ed column in today's New York Times, David Brooks


, beginning with the situation in the courts:

So far, one judge has struck down the individual mandate, the plan’s centerpiece. Future decisions are likely to break down on partisan lines. Given the makeup of the Supreme Court, this should concern the law’s defenders.

And then he moves along, like that, to the next topic. This is how far the Supreme Court's legitimacy has eroded: David Brooks, who believes in the integrity of institutions and the soundness of the status quo, takes it for granted that the federal judiciary plans to vote on party lines. The "constitutionality" of a law passed by a Democratic majority in Congress is defined not by whether the law fits with the existing body of law and precedent, but by whether the Republicans have the votes on the Supreme Court to overturn it.

This is not a particularly novel critique of the right-wing-activist turn of the judiciary, but it's hard to imagine a mainstream conservative columnist accepting it so blithely in the era before

. Even if certain justices always voted a certain way, the polite thing to do was to attribute it to principle. If they started overturning earlier majorities' precedents, it was because they were trying to affirm some older, deeper principle. Officially, the Court was independent and impartial.

The Roberts Court itself, however, makes very few bones about its role as a Republican-majority superlegislature. Thus we get Chief Justice John Roberts—the Court's Republican majority leader, as it were—

by presiding over a special swearing-in ceremony for John Boehner's staff. Politico described this as "another statement of the new House Republican majority's commitment to the Constitution." Commitment might not be exactly the right word. It was some kind of statement about the Constitution, at any rate.



The Self-Made Man

The story of America’s most pliable, pernicious, irrepressible myth.

Michigan’s Tradition of Football “Toughness” Needs to Go—Starting With Coach Hoke

Does Your Child Have “Sluggish Cognitive Tempo”? Or Is That Just a Disorder Made Up to Scare You?

The First Case of Ebola in America Has Been Diagnosed in Dallas

Why Indians in America Are Mad for India’s New Prime Minister

Damned Spot

Now Stare. Don’t Stop.

The perfect political wife’s loving gaze in campaign ads.

Building a Better Workplace

You Deserve a Pre-cation

The smartest job perk you’ve never heard of.

Don’t Panic! The U.S. Already Stops Ebola and Similar Diseases From Spreading. Here’s How.

Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD

The XX Factor
Sept. 30 2014 12:34 PM Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD
  News & Politics
Sept. 30 2014 6:59 PM The Democrats’ War at Home Can the president’s party defend itself from the president’s foreign policy blunders?
Sept. 30 2014 7:02 PM At Long Last, eBay Sets PayPal Free
Sept. 30 2014 7:35 PM Who Owns Scrabble’s Word List? Hasbro says the list of playable words belongs to the company. Players beg to differ.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 30 2014 12:34 PM Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 30 2014 3:21 PM Meet Jordan Weissmann Five questions with Slate’s senior business and economics correspondent.
Brow Beat
Sept. 30 2014 4:45 PM Steven Soderbergh Is Doing Some Next-Level Work on The Knick
Future Tense
Sept. 30 2014 7:00 PM There’s Going to Be a Live-Action Tetris Movie for Some Reason
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 30 2014 6:44 PM Ebola Was Already Here How the United States contains deadly hemorrhagic fevers.
Sports Nut
Sept. 30 2014 5:54 PM Goodbye, Tough Guy It’s time for Michigan to fire its toughness-obsessed coach, Brady Hoke.