The Corner

Politics & Policy

Rebuilding the Kennedy Court

(Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

Last year I let loose with a provocative thoughthat I couldn’t get out of my head: that after Anthony Kennedy left the scene there was a constitutional crisis waiting for us. Not that I liked Kennedy’s jurisprudence, only that it seemed to me that the American people seemed to have developed an  expectation that the Supreme Court acts to restrain and manage the competition between the two political parties. This is very different than trying to apply and interpret the Constitution come what may. My fear was that if the Court began to consolidate to one side or the other, that the losing partisans would quickly lose faith in democracy or in America’s institutions. If he’s our philosopher king, then his exit means regime change.

And now we see that the left looks upon the Senate and the Court as things to dramatically change. Pete Buttigieg has unveiled a plan for reforming the court. NBC reports:

Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, has talked about his plan to overhaul the high court since his first days as a candidate. In short, it calls for expanding the number of justices from nine to 15, with five affiliated with Democrats, five affiliated with Republicans, and five apolitical justices chosen by the first 10.

But what I find interesting about it is that it is the way a semi-intelligent person (like Pete Buttigieg) would try to rebuild and institutionalize the Kennedy Court’s role as I described it. It means building the court in the image of the two parties, and having them select “apolitical” wise men and women — surely people drawn from the elite strata of American society.

Thankfully this proposal will go nowhere.

Most Popular

Elections

Vote Your Conscience

At the 2016 Republican convention, Senator Ted Cruz spoke a controversial phrase: “vote your conscience.” I think about this phrase, this idea, fairly often. I’m not one to give advice on voting (or much else). But when asked for advice, I usually say, “Vote your conscience.” Sweet conscience! One of ... Read More
Elections

Vote Your Conscience

At the 2016 Republican convention, Senator Ted Cruz spoke a controversial phrase: “vote your conscience.” I think about this phrase, this idea, fairly often. I’m not one to give advice on voting (or much else). But when asked for advice, I usually say, “Vote your conscience.” Sweet conscience! One of ... Read More
Music

Stevie Nicks, Like Springsteen, Preaches and Preens

In the 1970s, Stevie Nicks and Bruce Springsteen made impressions on pop-music culture with romantic rock landmarks, Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours album and Springsteen’s Born to Run. But their new 2020 releases, Nicks’s single “Show Them the Way” and Springsteen’s Letter to You film and album, make the ... Read More
Music

Stevie Nicks, Like Springsteen, Preaches and Preens

In the 1970s, Stevie Nicks and Bruce Springsteen made impressions on pop-music culture with romantic rock landmarks, Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours album and Springsteen’s Born to Run. But their new 2020 releases, Nicks’s single “Show Them the Way” and Springsteen’s Letter to You film and album, make the ... Read More
Law & the Courts

The Kavanaugh Court

If Justice Barrett votes as her mentor Justice Scalia did, she will be part of an ascendant conservative majority on the Supreme Court. What kinds of decisions can we expect from this majority? Short answer: Ask Brett Kavanaugh. Contrary to how journalists frame each seat change on the Court, comparing the new ... Read More
Law & the Courts

The Kavanaugh Court

If Justice Barrett votes as her mentor Justice Scalia did, she will be part of an ascendant conservative majority on the Supreme Court. What kinds of decisions can we expect from this majority? Short answer: Ask Brett Kavanaugh. Contrary to how journalists frame each seat change on the Court, comparing the new ... Read More