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The Left wants a Supreme Court that’s even less democratic.

In an era of partisan polarization, it is rare to get agreement on anything, but about this there should be a consensus: The Supreme Court is an undemocratic institution whose power should be carefully circumscribed. The right has long been of this view, and the left is suddenly and opportunistically partway there. In an essay...
Time: 20:23     Date: 12.07.2018
Last US News - Opinion: The Left wants a Supreme Court that’s even less democratic. NY Post 24 - US News

The right has long been of this view, and the left is suddenly and opportunistically partway there.

In an essay capturing progressives’ newfound skepticism, Ezra Klein of Vox wrote that the Supreme Court “has always been undemocratic” and is now becoming even “more dangerous.”

This represents a welcome turnabout from cheering the high court’s de facto legislating, most recently in the Obergefell case that mandated gay marriage nationally with little or no constitutional warrant. Indeed, the left is about a half-century late to the insight that the court isn’t a democratically elected legislature.

In the 1960s, the court became markedly more assertive, delivering a raft of activist decisions, especially on matters of criminal justice and sexual morality.

In their excellent recent book on the history of the Constitution, Michael Stokes Paulsen and Luke Paulsen write of this era: “The dominance, supremacy, and near-exclusivity of judicial and especially Supreme Court interpretations of the Constitution and the free-wheeling interpretive liberty that accompanied such essentially unrestrained judicial power were new, distinctive, and profoundly important phenomena in the history of the Constitution.”

Progressives cheered all the while.

Needless to say, the court was never meant to be an unelected superlegislature, and it has taken on such a highly charged role in our politics, in part, because it arrogated this power to itself.

The court’s legitimacy comes from faithfully interpreting laws passed by the legislature and adhering to the Constitution that is the foundational governing document of the country, adopted and amended by “We the People.” Anything else is a usurpation.

Progressives are, perversely, taking a more hostile view of the court precisely when it may get a reliable majority of justices devoted to this vision of it.

Klein alleges that the court is becoming affirmatively “anti-democratic,” by which he means it isn’t striking down democratically adopted voter rules and gerrymandered districts.

Klein may oppose the Ohio law that purges nonvoters from the rolls if they to fail to respond to a government notice after a period of years, but there is a remedy readily at hand — changing the law in Ohio, which continues to have regularly scheduled elections.

As for gerrymandering, the court punted on making a big pronouncement on it this term. But gerrymandering is not a partisan phenomenon.

Both parties avail themselves of it when they win elections at the state level. Last month, the court slapped down a Republican challenge to a congressional district drawn by Democrats in Maryland.

The Supreme Court isn’t, in a hallmark of its activism over the past several decades, imposing its own preferred policy on maintaining voter rolls or writing congressional districts. It’s letting elected bodies decide and fight it out.

If the left were serious about its new worries about an undemocratic court, it would welcome the prospect of overturning Roe v. Wade and returning the issue of abortion directly to the voters.

Instead, the fear of such a decision is one of its counts in its indictment of the court. “There is no majority of voters out there,” John Cassidy of The New Yorker complains, “clamoring for a ban on abortion.”

But this is irrelevant to the dubious constitutional status of Roe, and polls consistently show people want more restrictions on abortion than are permitted under Roe, which has effectively mandated abortion on demand.

Indeed, the belief that voters in some states will ban abortion and voters in lots of others will regulate more stringently if Roe is overturned is the single biggest motivating factor in opposition to Trump Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. In other words, on this key issue, the worry is that the court will allow too much democracy.

Of course, the court will, and should, act as a check on the popular will at times. But in doing so, it must limit itself to enforcing the law and the Constitution and not insisting on its preference.

But this would represent an enormous loss for progressives.

First, a court that no longer envisions itself as an instrument of social change wouldn’t hand the left totalist victories unachievable in the political realm. Two, the animating vision behind the Constitution — written by men with a strong suspicion of centralized power — runs counter to the logic of progressive government.

So the left will bang on about the undemocratic court without changing its core belief that it is rightfully the vehicle for mandating its favored policies.

Opinion

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Don’t buy into Putin’s excuses like Trump has.
President Trump is not, and never will be, the Moscow corespondent for The Nation magazine, and he shouldn’t sound like...

Opinion

Last US News - Opinion: Trump bordered on being deferential in Putin meeting. NY Post 24 - US News
Trump bordered on being deferential in Putin meeting.
Sometimes you eat the bear, and sometimes the bear eats you. Even when you are the president of the United States. From the...
Last US News - Opinion: Trump and Putin’s OJ-like search for the ‘real’ meddling culprits. NY Post 24 - US News
Trump and Putin’s OJ-like search for the ‘real’ meddling culprits.
When did OJ become POTUS? President Trump told a Helsinki press conference Monday that Russian strongman Vladimir Putin has...
Last US News - Opinion: No, the Republican Party isn’t headed for a split. NY Post 24 - US News
No, the Republican Party isn’t headed for a split.
President Trump’s weak performance at his press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin was hard for even the...
Last US News - Opinion: Don’t buy into Putin’s excuses like Trump has. NY Post 24 - US News
Don’t buy into Putin’s excuses like Trump has.
President Trump is not, and never will be, the Moscow corespondent for The Nation magazine, and he shouldn’t sound like...
Last US News - Opinion: It’s long past time for Cuomo to stop wasting taxpayer money. NY Post 24 - US News
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The next time Gov. Cuomo cries poverty, show him a copy of Monday’s Post, with its cover story about the $10 billion he...

Living

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‘Sopranos’ swag up for auction online.
A haul of “Sopranos” swag has gone up for auction online — including such big hits as gangster Bobby Baccalieri’s...
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Mom recalls horror of daughter locked inside washing machine.
A Facebook user says her young daughter had to be freed last week from a frontloading washing machine in a now-viral post....
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Police release ‘pugmug’ to find owner of dog who ran away.
Who’s been a bad boy? Police in Cape May, New Jersey on Sunday released a mugshot — or rather, a “#pugmug” —...
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Beauty sleep is real, study says.
Turns out there really is such a thing as beauty sleep. And apparently, there’s a specific time we should be heading to...
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Small town tosses ‘Footloose’ law barring dancing on Sundays.
FORT SMITH, Ark. — Officials in a western Arkansas city say residents can finally kick off their Sunday shoes. Fort Smith...
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Why you may be more likely to get tooth decay in New Jersey.
Adding the mineral fluoride to drinking water is hailed as one of the biggest public-health breakthroughs of the past century...
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You probably shouldn’t eat crab meat for a little while.
Another day, another dire warning about food that you probably should avoid for a while. Last week the FDA and CDC told everyone...
US Living News: Disability rights groups question Starbucks’ straw ban. NY Post 24 - US News
Disability rights groups question Starbucks’ straw ban.
Starbucks’ recent news to get rid of plastic straws at all its stores by 2020 has raised concerns among disability...

Business

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How Trump’s tax bill might have caused dip in MLB ticket sales.
Attendance at Major League Baseball games is down this year. And like everything else that happens these days, it could be...
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How more Mueller revelations could impact Wall Street.
I believe the big news for Wall Street this fall will be the Washington investigations. Very big! If special counsel Robert...
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The Weinstein Company’s tortured path from indie darling to industry pariah ended Monday with the bankrupt studio’s takeover...
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This miss is leaving a mark. Netflix shares tumbled more than 14 percent in after-hours trading on Monday after the streaming...
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Papa John’s founder blames n-word scandal on ‘extortion’ attempt.
Papa John’s founder John Schnatter is punching back. The pizza mogul who was accused of using racial slurs during an internal...
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Metro

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An obscure public authority run by Gov. Cuomo appointees helped subsidize the purchase of sophisticated heating and power...
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CUNY’s lax placement standards yields fewer remedial students.
The number of incoming students requiring remedial instruction at CUNY’s seven community colleges plummeted by 22 percent...
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Man accused of killing abusive dad considering plea deal.
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Schneiderman returns $1M in campaign funds — still has $7.4M left.
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Sport

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Bryce Harper may have saved his free agency with brilliant night.
WASHINGTON — Did Bryce Harper just wipe out three months of disappointment with one night of show-stopping elation? How...
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Mets own complete control of Jacob deGrom’s destiny.
WASHINGTON — Jacob deGrom elevated himself from an already outstanding starter to something more than that this year by...
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WASHINGTON — First of all, Ichiro Suzuki should have been here. But at least Bryce Harper did his part to make this Home...