The Supreme Court– too much to say

Wow, those decisions today.  I’ve honestly kept putting off a post because there’s just too much I want to say and I’d rather do things than spend 30 minutes on one blog post.  So, just a few points I want to make.

1) Over the course of the past couple weeks of decisions, I am utterly disgusted by the Supreme Court’s conservatives.  It seems that most, but for Roberts, will put up with the most extreme, unconstitutional absurdity if it helps Republican political power.  That the Census decision was 5-4 and not 9-0, given the available facts is truly appalling.  Roberts, Kavanaugh, and even Gorsuch branch out every now and again and actually do the right thing (though, not nearly enough).  Kavanaugh and Gorsuch each have mini-moments, but then they vote as they do on the Census and gerrymandering.  Of course.  But, damn, Thomas and Alito are just completely irredeemable.

1b) Think that last statement is harsh.  Read about the (overlooked) 7-2 case of the most extreme state-sanctioned racism.  But it’s all good with Thomas and Alito.

2) I love Dahlia Lithwick’s characterization of the gerrymandering ruling as a “body blow” to democracy.  And I love how she totally points out the bad-faith hypocrisy of the conservative jurists on a series of opinions.

3) And I really liked Rich Hasen on the absurdity of the gerrymandering ruling.

4) Also, cool thought, I brought it #3 and #4 to be speakers at NCSU and they were both awesome.

5) And, I really liked Zach Beauchamp with the big-picture view:

This principle — that Republicans believe their rule is better and are willing to do whatever it takes to ensure they take and hold power — does not merely lead to gerrymandering. It has produced a whole host of undemocratic actions, at both state and federal levels, that amount to a systematic threat to American democracy. Indeed, some of the best scholarship we have on American democracy suggests that this is even more alarming than it sounds; that it fits historical patterns of democratic backsliding both in the United States and abroad.

In her dissent to Roberts’s ruling, Justice Elena Kagan wrote that “gerrymanders like the ones here may irreparably damage our system of government.” I’d take it a step further.

The Court’s ruling in Rucho reveals that there’s a threat to American democracy more subtle and yet greater than the Trump presidency: the Republican Party’s drift toward being institutionally hostile to democracy.

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State

5 Responses to The Supreme Court– too much to say

  1. R. Jenrette says:

    Maybe the way to fight gerrymandering is for citizens to register as Independents. If we are all or mostly independents, gerrymandering becomes much more difficult.
    We can still vote for who ever we want, even in many primaries. I have always advocated for closed primaries but this Supreme Court ruling has drastically changed the game and I must change to meet it.

    • Steve Greene says:

      Nope. They have so much data now that they are going to be able to very effectively gerrymander regardless of registration status. Gerrymandering happens effectively in states that don’t even have party registration.

      • R. Jenrette says:

        So has data control become so great that democracy is finally beyond the point of no return?

  2. Steve Greene says:

    Well, no, because it wouldn’t be if the Supreme Court would just do it’s part :-).

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