NPR legal correspondent says conservative SCOTUS ‘on a tear,’ warns of ‘rock-em-sock-em’ 2023 term

Several members of the allegedly objective media have suggested in recent days that the Supreme Court’s decision to vote against the wishes of the left in regard to gun control and abortion has irreparably wrecked its credibility.

On Saturday, for instance, NPR’s legal correspondent rather explicitly claimed that the court’s decision to pursue “a pretty conservative” agenda “isn’t great for the court as an institution.”

“[F]or the first time in the modern court era, there is no center. The court is the most conservative of any court in 75 years at least, and it’s using the whip hand, it seems, to push a pretty conservative — I would actually say very conservative — agenda, and the result isn’t great for the court as an institution,” Nina Totenberg said.

“The Gallup poll just released shows that the court’s approval ratings have plummeted to a historic low at 25 percent,” she added.

While the latter point is accurate, the data shows that the public’s approval of the court has hovered in the lower 30s/upper 20s range for nearly 15 years.

(Source: Gallup)

More importantly, the Supreme Court was designed so that its rulings would be based entirely on the law, not on majority opinion.

“[T]he Supreme Court is a court, not a legislature, and … its job is not to decide what the law should be, but what it is. That the Court sometimes deals with ‘politicized issues’ does not alter this. Indeed, there would be no point in our having a written constitution if its terms could be overridden by transient public opinion every time the issue at hand was deemed controversial,” Charles C.W. Cooke of National Review notes.

“If all it took for a given political action to be considered legitimate were a careful reading of opinion polls, then there would be no point in our having legislatures or executives. Congress could go; the president could go; the courts could go; written law could go; the separation of powers could go; the Bill of Rights could go; and in their place, we could put Frank Luntz.”

Indeed, if the Supreme Court did base its decisions on opinion, then all hell would break loose.

“If … the Court should consider public opinion when it makes its decisions, then it should do so in all cases. Sure, the Constitution doesn’t allow the president to raise taxes on his own. But what if raising taxes is popular, and if preventing him from doing so would create a ‘charged atmosphere’?” Cooke explains.

“Sure, the Constitution doesn’t allow even the most popular of presidents to run for a third term. But what if Gallup says he’d win the next election in a walk, and to uphold the 22nd Amendment would annoy voters? Sure, the Constitution doesn’t allow the prosecution of people for acts that were not criminal at the time they were committed. But what if declining to allow such charges leads to death threats against judges?”

The discussion on NPR continued with host Susan Davis rightly pointing out that “it’s not like courts haven’t taken unpopular positions before, even positions against the majority of the will of the public.”

Totenberg conceded this point but then claimed that this time it’s different.

“It certainly has. Any court can take a hit. You know, the country was furious in 1962 when a liberal court majority banished prayers in public schools. But this court is much more on a tear. It’s reaching out for cases that it doesn’t have to take yet,” she said.

“We have affirmative action next year. We have a case that the court reached out to accept about whether a business can turn away gay clients. And there’s more – lots more. It’s going to be another rock-em-sock-em term, and I think it’s going to be that way for a long time.”

And it’ll be this way because the American people voted former President Donald Trump into office, and he in turn nominated three conservatives to the high court.

Washington Post columnist and MSNBC host Jonathan Capehart echoed some of Totenberg’s rhetoric during a PBS NewsHour Segment late Friday, according to the media watchdog NewsBusters.

“I think the credibility of the court is now more on the line than ever. I hesitate to say that the legitimacy of the court is in question or at risk, because that’s just — that’s a step too far. But when you read this decision, and you read the concurring opinions, the legitimacy of the court is going — I think will be eroded,” he said.

This same attitude was on full display Sunday on MSNBC, and this time in regard to the Supreme Court returning the issue of abortion back to the states:

This attitude that’s been voiced by so many members of the establishment press suggests that they believe the Supreme Court is obliged to vote in ways that please the Democrat Party versus voting in ways that are befitting of the Constitution.

Luckily for those Americans who care about the actual law, these partisan pundits have no power to affect how the Supreme Court functions …


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Vivek Saxena


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