A simple plan for saving the Supreme Court

Dan Epps, associate professor of law

 

If Judge Brett Kavanaugh is confirmed to the Supreme Court, Republicans will have succeeded in a decades-long effort to take the courts in a more conservative direction. While they will surely celebrate this victory, the real loser in this partisan battle is not the other side — it’s the Supreme Court. And without radical reforms to save its legitimacy, the Court may never recover from its transformation into a nakedly partisan institution.

After more than 200 years, the Supreme Court still plays a crucial role in our constitutional democracy. It offers a check on the political process, and it holds Americans to our deepest commitments by upholding society’s laws. Indeed, as the highest arbiter of legal disputes in our country, the public’s trust that the Court isn’t just playing out partisan politics is inextricable from public confidence in the rule of law itself.

The Court has never been completely disconnected from politics, but the past several decades represent a dangerous swing in a deeply partisan direction. The increased polarization in society, the development of alternative schools of legal interpretation that line up with political leanings, and increased interest-group attention to the Supreme Court nomination process have combined to create a system in which the Court has become a political football.

Read the full piece in Vox.

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