Politics Undermine U.S. Courts, Part 2

The New York Analysis of Policy & Government concludes its two-part look at how politics are undermining confidence in the impartiality of American courts.

 The Daily Signal characterizes the change in composition of the courts as a revolution that has been “comprehensive, dramatic, and under the radar…”

The Washington Times worries that our court system has become politicized. “The Obama administration flooded it with activist judges that ruled in favor of advancing liberalism, to the detriment of our national sovereignty. So it’s no surprise the courts would work to stop Mr. Trump’s agenda.” In 2003, that newspaper wrote: “One of the greatest contemporary threats to the survival of republican government arises from the courts. Increasingly, judges are behaving like black-robed autocrats, not simply ruling upon the law, but making law…outrageous cases…suggest our American system of separated powers, checks and balances, is seriously out of balance…The Framers limited the power of the courts just as they did the powers of the other two branches of government.”

In an excellent analysis in the Daily Wire, Ben Shapiro  notes that the logic behind the various 9th Circuit decisions could invalidate “virtually all immigration law…The Court also seems to establish a brand new interest not found in the Constitution—protecting the due process rights of illegal aliens, a right that doesn’t exist.”

Joseph Klein, in describing an initial 9th circuit travel ban ruling, commented in Front Page that  “… therein lies the heart of the matter.  This is not a ruling of law, it’s a statement of political opposition to the winner of the 2016 election, a piecemeal attempt to impose the personal views of Ninth Circuit judges over the lawful results of an election.”

How serious a threat is this? A 2003 Washington Times editorial: “One of the greatest contemporary threats to the survival of republican government arises from the courts. Increasingly, judges are behaving like black-robed autocrats, not simply ruling upon the law, but making law…outrageous cases…suggest our American system of separated powers, checks and balances, is seriously out of balance…The Framers limited the power of the courts just as they did the powers of the other two branches of government.”

Last year, as reported in the Weekly Standard, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s engaged in an outburst against Donald Trump that was roundly criticized by people of all political stripes. “Insofar as her comments suggested a clear bias about cases that could come before the Supreme Court, they were clearly a mistake and a departure from the norms of Court behavior…Justice Ginsburg later apologized…For a long time it has been clear that the four Democratic-appointed Supreme Court justices generally vote in lockstep on political issues of importance to the president. When there are public calls for bipartisanship on the Court, this is invariably code that one or more Republican-appointed judges should vote with their Democratic-appointed colleagues. And they often do, as in the case of Obamacare and college affirmative action. It never means the opposite.”

The Obama Administration’s diminishment of the objectivity of American Courts was blatant. A Stanford Law Review article describes it:

“Congress and the President [Obama] have belittled the Court. President Obama told the public at the 2010 State of the Union address that ‘the Supreme Court reversed a century of law’ with its Citizens United decision and suggested that the Court opposed honest elections. The ensuing image was even more damaging. With 48 million Americans watching, the camera panned to a cadre of expressionless Supreme Court Justices sitting in the front row…Politicization of the Court is dangerous because it primes the public for a power grab by the political branches. If the Court loses authority to check political power and make unpopular decisions, it cannot enforce the Constitution with the same effectiveness. Without enforcement of the Constitution, Congress is free to invade constitutional rights and exceed its lawful powers.”