I opine further on the Supreme Court and its recent decisions in my column today for the Financial Times.
When the US Supreme Court makes important rulings, discussion ensues on the intent of the constitution’s draughtsmen and how far their purposes should guide the court more than 200 years later. The designers of this miraculously durable constitution would have wished there to be such debate. But I do not think they would be impressed by much else they see. In fact I am sure they would be dismayed and even disgusted by what the court has become.
Its handling of Bush v Gore in 2000 marked a dangerous low, whether you see that as reckless bungling (as I do) or an outright power-grab. But it was no isolated instance. Despite learned claims to the contrary from all its members, the Supreme Court has become an intensely political body. It is a squabbling panel of legislators in robes – partisan and unelected, selected for their politics and appointed for life.
The court is as polarised as the branches of government it oversees. Far from standing above day-to-day politics and defending the system’s integrity, the justices are down in the dirt throwing punches with the rest, pausing now and then to wipe themselves down, write an opinion and reflect on their dignity.
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