“The Roberts Court’s Assault on Democracy” From Harvard Law And Policy Review

In this post I link to the article, The Roberts Court’s Assault on Democracy, from the
Harvard Law & Policy Review*, Forthcoming

35 Pages Posted: 6 Mar 2020
Lynn Adelman
U.S. District Court – Eastern District of WI

Date Written: February 18, 2020

*About the Harvard Law And Policy Review:

The Harvard Law & Policy Review (HLPR) is published twice annually and serves as the official law review of the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy. The American Constitution Society provides financial support for the publication of the journal. Providing a forum for substantive debate between progressive legal scholars, policymakers, and practitioners, HLPR serves as a nexus between academia and practice, with a focus on promoting scholarship with practical application to societal challenges. HLPR publishes innovative proposals for progressive applications of law and policy, focusing on U.S. domestic policy.

Here is the introduction to this thoughtful article:

By now, it is a truism that Chief Justice John Roberts’ statement to the Senate Judiciary Committee that a Supreme Court justice’s role is the passive one of a neutral baseball “umpire
who [merely] calls the balls and strikes”1 was a masterpiece of disingenuousness. Roberts’ misleading testimony inevitably comes to mind when one considers the course of decision-making by the Court over which he presides. This is so because the Roberts Court has been anything but passive. Rather, the Court’s hard right majority is actively participating in undermining American democracy. Indeed, the Roberts Court has contributed to insuring that the political system in the
United States pays little attention to ordinary Americans and responds only to the wishes of a relatively small number of powerful corporations and individuals.

As Columbia Law School professor Tim Wu explains,
About 75 percent of Americans favor higher taxes for the ultrawealthy. The idea that federal law would guarantee paid maternity leave attracts 67 percent support. Eighty-three percent favor strong net neutrality rules for broadband, and more than 60 percent want stronger privacy laws. Seventy-one percent think we should be
able to buy drugs imported from Canada, and 92 percent think that Medicare should negotiate for lower drug prices. The list goes on.2

Of course, one cannot blame the Roberts Court for the fact that, in numerous instances, the will of the majority is ignored. The fault for that state of affairs is primarily with Congress. But, it
is also true that the decisions of the Roberts Court are contributing substantially to the fact that ordinary Americans have so little political power. In at least two critical respects, the Court’s decisions are undermining the democratic republic that the American people, often led by subordinated groups, have fought for. And this is happening at a time when democratic institutions need strengthening.


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