Saturday, November 15, 2014

Our Egg Head Supreme Court?

Yesterday I posted a note about the 100th anniversary of the founding of The New Republic.  One of the articles in that 100th anniversary issue is Dahlia Lithwick's article Nine of A Kind on the current United States Supreme Court.  In it, she advances a position which I've maintained for quite some time, which is that its unfortunate that the U.S. Supreme Court has become the exclusive domain of Ivy League jurists.  She takes that thought further noting that what really distinguishes this court, in her view, is that the nine justices all share a stunning degree of commonality in their experiences, or perhaps their lack of them, and therefore are much more alike than different.

I think she's right.

Now, in stating this, I have to admit that I also think that her point that this is the most intellectual court we've ever had is also correct, and that while I find some of their decisions bizarre, such as the one on zoning a while back, by and large I think this court actually is doing a really find job and that much of the criticism of it is unwarranted.  It's decisions are often five to four, but usually the decisions are really well grounded in the law. That's what miffs people, and its why you'll find the same people praising one decision at one time, and criticizing another at another time, as most people think of the court politically, not legally.  For instance, some of my more conservative friends were irate on the decision concerning the Affordable Health Care Act. Well, be mad at the act and its drafters if you wish, but the decision upholding it on a tax thesis was a pretty careful, legally well balanced, decision.  No, that doesn't mean you have to like it, but disliking the opinion doesn't mean the court went off the rails.  Likewise, Liberals who are in a constant state of denial on the firearms decision in Holder should get over it and realize that the decision is neither conservative or liberal, it's just right.

None the less, there's something really disturbing about the fact we now have a court that has so little experience in real life and so little experience in real law.  A court that seems to have to be made up of Ivy League law school graduates is disturbing in and of itself.

Or perhaps not. They seem to be doing a pretty good job under Justice Roberts.  I'd be less confident if some others were Chief Justice however.  A little mix of some lawyers who have done something else in their life, anyhow, would seem well suggested.

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