Bench Memos

NRO’s home for judicial news and analysis.

Re: Patty Cake, Patty Cake, Baker’s Man


Let me add a couple comments to Matt’s fine post on Adam Cohen’s New York Times op-ed on Alito and reapportionment:

1. Cohen states that the principle that legislative districts should have absolutely equal populations—the principle often summarized under the misleading moniker of “one person, one vote”—”is now a cornerstone of American democracy” and highlights the fact that Senator Biden has expressed his concerns that Alito twenty years ago stated that thirty-five years ago he disagreed with Warren Court decisions on reapportionment. How wondrous to have the reapportionment attack on Alito led by a senator from Delaware—with a population in 2000 of less than 800,000, or about 2.3% of California’s—who owes his career to the fact that the Constitution prohibits this “cornerstone” principle from being applied to the Senate.

2. If Cohen has any genuine concern for democracy, he should favor jurists like Alito and Chief Justice Roberts who recognize that the Constitution leaves the vast bulk of issues to the democratic processes for decision. It is the Left that, on issue after issue (abortion, same-sex marriage, stripping God out of the Pledge of Allegiance, to cite just a few examples), has run to the courts to override the popular will and to entrench its agenda. The principle of “one person, one vote” doesn’t mean much if judges have a roving mandate to trump legislative enactments they disfavor.


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