I have watched a lot of Supreme Court confirmation hearings in my day.
I acknowledge that if someone led with that sentence on their Tinder page, they wouldn’t be getting a lot of right-swipes. More likely, a lot of people viewing their bio would instead throw their phone into a vat of clorox. But this is something I do so you won’t have to. And…well….also, I didn’t have a prom date, and most party invitations seem to arrive at my house late. Or at least, I assume they are late in that none of them have ever actually arrived yet. But mail doesn’t come until 4:00!!
One thing you can count on every Supreme Court nominee saying (other than “You know, I’ve never actually thought about abortion rights”) is that they have no “agenda”. They have no list of things they want to accomplish and certainly no ideological perspective they wish to vindicate or policies they’d like to change. Gosh McKrimpet! They are all just wide-eyed, doe-like creatures, just waiting to fairly rule on whichever cases happen to come before them. For example, despite a nominee’s history of working as a lobbyist for the oil companies and publishing numerous papers with titles like “Neuro-Toxins. Better than Vitamin C?” who could possibly guess how they’ll rule on environmental cases?
This is all, of course, as famed legal scholar Learned Hand wrote, “crap on a cracker”.
One way to tell that the extreme right-wing justices who populate the court now are not neutral referees, but are instead purely results-oriented ideologues is to look at those results. In statutory interpretation cases, the Supreme Court is most often interpreting very liberal statutes passed by Democratically-controlled congresses and introduced by very progressive legislators. Yet, when asked what those lefties meant when they wrote their law, the answer is always taken directly off of the Republican Party website, specifically, click on “Policies” and scroll down to “Crazy-Assed”.
For example, last week the Supreme Court decided that the Clean Air Act (“CAA”) did not authorize the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate climate-changing carbon emissions. The CAA was passed in 1963. The Democrats controlled the US Senate 66–34 and the bill was introduced by Connecticut liberal Abraham Ribicoff. It was seen as a huge liberal…