However this ends, the idea that the Supreme Court is a group of smart, relatively apolitical jurists whose job is to neutrally interpret and defend the Constitution and the rule of law from the more political branches is taking a series of mortal wounds.
Personally, I have viewed that “apolitical jurists” gag as a fairy story for years. But I also thought that the widespread belief in that mythical idea was an important element holding our democracy together. (My first book was titled “Our Constitution: The Myth That Binds Us.”) But I wrote that 30 years ago, for the bicentennial of the Constitution.
Since then, it’s become harder and harder to prop up the myth. I could point to plenty of myth-endangering developments since then.
But last week, in my humble estimation, may have struck a mortal blow. We’ll see.
I thought about the myth of the apolitical court as I read over the weekend the analysis of political numbers guru Nate Silver, written actually before Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s final angry man outburst, as Silver opined on the possible partisan political wisdom for President Trump and the Republicans of yanking Kavanaugh and trying to rush through someone more easily confirmable, especially if it could be a woman.
But the analysis soon turns to the chronological and partisan political questions of how many days are left to get it done and how it might affect the midterm results and whether it actually might be better to push someone else through, if not before Election Day, then maybe in the lame duck period before the new (possibly Democratic-controlled) Senate takes over, etc.
Does the myth – that the founders gave us a document and a system that can answer our most vexing questions and hold us together — still bind us?