A New York Times editorial aimed scathing criticism at Senate Republicans who have threatened to keep the Supreme Court shorthanded indefinitely if Hillary Clinton is elected: “Today’s Republicans are essentially saying the court is nothing but another political body, and that justices should be treated as ideological sock puppets of the president who nominated them. Yes, the justices come with political beliefs and backgrounds, but that makes it all the more important to demand that they work harder than the rest of us to struggle against their biases and preserve their independence.”
“The indefinite blockade not only hobbles the justices’ ability to resolve current cases, it takes open aim at the court’s legitimacy as the sole unelected branch of government,” the editorial said. It said the stonewallers want to toss out political norms to keep a conservative majority on the high court. “This majority, they hope, would promote a worldview where fewer people have rights, where women do not have reproductive choices, where lawmakers can make it harder for minorities to vote, where religious people are free to disregard laws protecting people they don’t like. Such a court could use a severe interpretation of the Constitution to ensure that American politics can be flooded with unlimited money, that reasonable gun restrictions are struck down, that corporate interests prevail over those of consumers, and that basic environmental regulations are turned back.”
“In the next Congress, regardless of who wins on Tuesday, the very survival of the court as an independent body will be at stake,” the editorial concluded.
At Daily Kos, an article examined more than a dozen vacant federal judgeships in Texas, which have been deemed “judicial emergencies,” and their impact in permitting some conservative judges in the state to “to block [President] Obama’s policies nationwide.” Nan Aron, president of our sister organization Alliance for Justice, condemned “an unprecedented power grab” at work and said, “Texas is unique given the large number of vacancies.” She added, “It’s also unique in the sense that you’ve got a very aggressive attorney general’s office which is engaging in forum shopping, making sure that the right judges will hear the cases and make decisions favorable to that attorney general’s office.” The Daily Kos article said citizens are seeing “global consequences of the systemic stonewalling of judicial appointments Republicans have engaged in.”
At Bloomberg, law professor Noah Feldman had an essay titled, “Election Day Is a Turning Point for Supreme Court.”