Monday, February 15, 2016

Abolish the Supreme Court

-Ryan McMaken
The current frenzy over the vacancy on the Supreme Court in the wake of Scalia’s death should be enough to make it clear to even the most naïve observer that the Supreme Court is a partisan and political institution, and nothing like the group of disinterested non-political sages that we are supposed to believe the court to be. As I wrote in “The Mythology of the Supreme Court,” the idea of the court as a group of jurisprudential deep thinkers is a tale for little school children:
This view of the court is of course hopelessly fanciful, and the truly political nature of the court is well documented. Its politics can take many forms. For an example of its role in political patronage, we need look no further than Earl Warren, a one-time candidate for president and governor of California, who was appointed to the court by Dwight Eisenhower. It is widely accepted that Warren’s appointment was payback for Warren’s non-opposition to Eisenhower’s nomination at the 1952 Republican convention. The proposition that Warren somehow transformed from politician to Deep Thinker after his appointment is unconvincing at best. Or we might point to the famous “switch in time that saved nine” in which Justice Owen Roberts completely reversed his legal position on the New Deal in response to political threats from the Franklin Roosevelt administration. Indeed, Supreme Court justices are politicians, who behave in the manner Public Choice theory tells us they should. They seek to preserve and expand their own power.

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