The way Chief Justice Roberts tosses red herrings, he could get a job at Seattle’s Pike Market. The court may make unpopular decisions, he says, but that’s no reason to question the Supremes’ legitimacy. He’s right, but he’s right in a way that totally misses the point.
Here are a half dozen real reasons why Americans question the court’s legitimacy:
1. Mitch McConnell refused to consider President Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland to the court, saying the nomination fell too close to a presidential election. Then, even closer to the next presidential election, that selfsame McConnell rushed confirmation hearings for Amy Barrett.
2. In their confirmation hearings, Barrett and Brett Kavanaugh outright lied about their positions on abortion.
3. Roberts and Justice Alito tried to distract us by making a BFD out of the leak of Alito’s draft abortion decision – a complete nothingburger compared to the fact that two justices lied (see #2 above) in their confirmation hearings.
4. Justice Clarence Thomas fails to recuse himself from certain decisions, despite conflicts of interest that can most charitably be described as blatant.
5. At the time of her confirmation, Americans were willing to accept that Amy Barrett makes her own decisions. Subsequent revelations about the religious sect her family belongs to reveal she is strictly bound by her husband’s decisions. Her husband was not appointed to the Supreme Court.
6. Chief Justice Roberts fails to acknowledge #s 1-5 above, despite that any freshman rhetoric student can see through him.
Unfortunately, it will take a generation to overcome these mis- and malfeasanses and restore the court’s credibility. Even if Kavanaugh takes it easy on the beer.