Thursday, September 13, 2007

the new new Constitution

Ronald Dworkin, in the NYRB, 'The Supreme Court Phalanx': chilling piece on the voting patterns and legal reasoning offered for decisions since the appointments of Roberts and Alito.

The revolution that many commentators predicted when President Bush appointed two ultra-right-wing Supreme Court justices is proceeding with breathtaking impatience, and it is a revolution Jacobin in its disdain for tradition and precedent. Bush's choices, Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito, have joined the two previously most right-wing justices, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, in an unbreakable phalanx bent on remaking constitutional law by overruling, most often by stealth, the central constitutional doctrines that generations of past justices, conservative as well as liberal, had constructed.

These doctrines aimed at reducing racial isolation and division, recapturing democracy from big money, establishing reasonable dimensions for freedom of conscience and speech, protecting a woman's right to abortion while recognizing social concerns about how that right is exercised, and establishing a criminal process that is fair as well as effective. The rush of 5–4 decisions at the end of the Court's term undermined the principled base of much of this carefully established doctrine. As Justice Stephen Breyer declared, in a rare lament from the bench, "It is not often in the law that so few have so quickly changed so much."
The rest here.

1 comment:

thomaspa said...

(*cry for help*)
oh, wait, we don't live there... I always wonder how much I should care now that I am, well, expatriated for an indeterminite amount of time... the scenes from Saturday Night Live in the run up to the 1992 election come to mind... well, actually, just the quite by Dana Carvey as George H.W. Bush when he says "Sleep like a baby while the world burns..."