Elections have consequences.
A long-lasting consequence is a president’s power to nominate Supreme Court justices and the Senate’s ability to confirm or deny them.
Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., who were nominated by President George W. Bush, belong to a large group of conservative lawyers who swear they live by the theory of “judicial restraint,” and Roberts now leads a five-man majority that embraces that dogma.
Philosophically, however, the rulings of the Roberts court, and the preceding conservative court that helped make Bush president, show that the true aim is to finally achieve the conservative dream: to repeal or cripple the “intrusions” of government by progressive and liberal administrations that began with the signing of the Pure Food and Drug Act in 1906 by a Republican president, and continued through enactment by Congress of Social Security, Medicare, environmental laws, Wall Street policing and voting rights for blacks.
Roberts’ “judicial restraint” has moved so far to the right that even President Ronald Reagan’s solicitor general filed a brief supporting aggregate limits on how much a billionaire can give to candidates, a limit the majority has now killed — the most recent decision confirming that the court’s conservatives think public policy should be controlled by the wealthy.
Last year, the court struck at ordinary voters when it gutted the Voting Rights Act even as Republican state legislatures were passing voter suppression laws.
“Judicial restraint,” indeed.
John N. Rippey