Has the Supreme Court Become Another Political Institution?

Megan Garber in the Atlantic argues that the Supreme Court “has reached a new nadir of partisan rancor. The Justices didn’t simply disagree on the outcomes of cases; they disagreed on the cases’ moral premises. They disagreed on their own roles in deciding what those premises might be. They descended, as a body, into a kind of judicial chaos, throwing up their hands beneath their heavy robes.”

Justice Scalia’s “characteristically avuncular dissents … are evidence of anger; they’re also evidence, more worryingly, of a new kind of nihilism that has creeped into the Court. They’re evidence that partisanship, contra Roberts’ early and perhaps naive hopes, hasn’t been expunged from the Court. That partisanship has, instead, infiltrated it.

“And, though Scalia is the most prominent and arguably the most media-savvy of SCOTUS’s scorn-hurlers, he is by no means alone in his scorched-earth approach.”

“That opinions and dissents are now operating at the heights of moral messaging and the depths of ad-hominem attack is a relatively recent phenomenon—one that has a metaphor, if not a full analogue, in the bitter divides that have become so familiar in other branches of government. SCOTUS is acting like Congress.”

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