Vox Worries That SCOTUS Has Become Anti-Democratic
The founder and editor-at-large of Vox wrote a Monday article criticizing the U.S. Supreme Court’s fall from grace, alleging that the institution has become antithetical to democracy.
“The Supreme Court has always been undemocratic. What it’s becoming is something more dangerous: anti-democratic,” Ezra Klein wrote.
The Supreme Court has not always been controlled by a Republican majority, however, which contradicts Klein’s statement.
While Republican appointees controlled the Supreme Court from 1873 to 1938, Democratic appointees controlled the Court from 1939 to 1970.
A Supreme Court vacancy must be filled by the current president, without exception. This law has been applied to all court vacancies during the tenure of Democratic and Republican presidents alike, despite the fact that Republicans have controlled the Supreme Court for a greater portion of history than Democrats.
Klein cites Slate’s legal analyst Dahlia Lithwick, who posits that “This conservative, five-justice bloc is distorting electoral politics to make it even harder to be represented.” Like Klein, she complained about the departure of swing Justice Anthony Kennedy, who led groundbreaking decisions on abortion and gay rights among others. (RELATED: Kennedy Calls It Quits: Longtime Swing Justice Hands Trump The Biggest Gift Of His Presidency)
“All this is coming in the context of a political system that is becoming less and less representative of public opinion,” Klein wrote. “Demographers project American politics will become even less democratic in the coming years.”
Klein concedes that it is okay America is not actually a democracy, citing the Electoral College. “Liberals may complain, but the rules are the rules, and both sides know what they are.” But he quickly pivots to pointing out how unfair it is when presidents who lost the popular vote get to nominate a Supreme Court justice.
Klein also attempts to pick apart the language “appointed by a Republican,” alleging that the phrase really means a socially and fiscally conservative nominee. Former President Ronald Reagan, a Republican, appointed Kennedy, who is responsible for many of the liberal social laws the country has today.
President Donald Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court will be announced Monday.
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