The case for optimism about the Supreme Court

“If you are angry at the Supreme Court, you are right to be angry. Many of this Court’s decisions are completely lawless — such as the Court’s recent decision in Biden v. Nebraska (2023), which ignored a federal law that unambiguously authorized Biden’s student loan forgiveness program. They demand anger. And that anger isn’t just righteous, it is useful.

But I also want to counsel against despair — that is, I want to counsel against the absence of hope.

The Court’s GOP-appointed majority is starting to draw some fences around the conservative legal project. The Court appears unwilling to attack entrenched parts of the American welfare state. It smacked down a Trump judge who attempted to ban the abortion drug mifepristone. It has rejected legal arguments that would devastate the US economy or threaten its national security.

And, most importantly, the Court is now signaling that it may preserve America’s ability to hold free and fair elections (or, at least, to hold elections that are as free and fair as possible in a nation with an Electoral College and a malapportioned Senate).”

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