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Sat Jul 12, 2014, 12:37 AM

Justice Scalia has used his platform to mobilize GOP base

BILL MOYERS: You have covered the court, Linda, since 1978. In that context what do you make of the Roberts court?

LINDA GREENHOUSE: Ah, so I try to think generously about the court, you know. But I think itís hard for anybody looking at this court objectively to come away not thinking that itís a court in pursuit of an agenda. And Iím sorry to say, I think that agenda maps on pretty closely to a Republican Party platform in things thatĖ in the hot button issues that many of us care the most about.

BILL MOYERS: And is that unique in the years youíve covered the court?

LINDA GREENHOUSE: I have to say so, yes, in terms of a five-member coalition having coalesced for those results. Not that there havenít been conservative versus liberal splits on the court always. And I covered the transition between the Burger court to the Rehnquist court. And certainly Chief Justice Rehnquist had an agenda, was kind of a statesí rights agenda that he was pretty successful in accomplishing.

But what we see now, I think, is a much broader effort across more areas on constitutional doctrine that really touch the lives of people, whether itís religion, speech, politics and so on. So itís something that I find quite concerning.

DAHLIA LITHWICK: I agree. I think that, you know, you need look no farther than the win record of places like the Chamber of Commerce, you know, big business at the court is having its winningest few seasons under the auspices of the John Roberts court. And these are, you know, business interests that used to win, you know, 50 percent of the time, 60 percent of the time. And in the last few years between 70 percent and 80 percent of the time, issues on which the Chamber of Commerce and other pro-business lobbies get involved in cases, weíre looking at huge win rates.

And I think that if you look at the architecture of unraveling the sort of Warren court revolution, what the court stood for, you cannot look at the Roberts court and say that theyíve done anything other than systemically unravel voting rights, womenís rights, workerís rights, environmental progress. Itís a pretty palpable and I think unequivocal trend.

BILL MOYERS: I think youíve also written that the right on the court is further right than mainstream conservatives.

DAHLIA LITHWICK: Well, I think that thereís two things. One is that itís absolutely clear (and I think this is empirically proven), that for the last few decades everybody who retires on the court is replaced by someone either slightly to their right or significantly to their right. So the court has not kept apace with, you know, mainstream legal thought. The court has torqued more and more to the right.

And I do think that on some of these issues, notably birth control, which we saw kind of I guess somewhat illuminated in the Hobby Lobby discussion, this is a view of birth control that is not at all in step, I think, with where the American public is on birth control. And so I think in that sense the court isnít simply to the right of sort of mainstream legal thought but dramatically to the right of the rest of the country.

LINDA GREENHOUSE: So you had Justice Scalia and Justice Thomas way out there and you had Chief Justice Roberts I think misinterpreted by many people as steering a moderate middle course. What he was doing was, as heís been doing all along, steering a strategic course to tee up the court to ultimately be in a place where heíd like it to be, but he doesnít need it to be there all at once.


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Reply Justice Scalia has used his platform to mobilize GOP base (Original post)
UCmeNdc Jul 2014 OP
ellie50 Jul 2014 #1

Response to UCmeNdc (Original post)

Sat Jul 12, 2014, 10:28 AM

1. The Opus Dei wing of SCOTUS

The Opus Dei wing of SCOTUS. Thank them for Hobby Lobby. We are a little closer to Single Payer Health Care thanks to them.

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