Amid the fading euphoria after the Supreme Court rulings favoring Obamacare and same-sex marriage, here is a sobering reminder from Michael Tomasky’s Daily Beast column, “Hey, Liberals: SCOTUS Ain’t Your Friend“:
It would be understandable if liberals were feeling kind of relaxed, kind of “Supreme Court, what’s so bad?” over the weekend. John Roberts and Anthony Kennedy delivered for our team on Obamacare, and then Kennedy came through again on same-sex marriage. If this is a conservative court, is getting a liberal one–which will be one of the trump-card arguments for voting for Hillary Clinton next fall–really a matter of such pressing urgency?
Well, yes. As we saw yesterday with the court’s death-penalty and EPA rulings, it’s still a long way from being a liberal court. But there’s more to it than that. People should remember that if a Republican is elected president next year and has the chance to replace Kennedy and/or Ruth Bader Ginsburg with another Samuel Alito, the Obamacare and same-sex marriage standings could easily be reversed. And don’t think there aren’t conservatives out there thinking about it, because there most certainly are, and they literally want to roll back the judicial clock to 1905.
Tomasky goes on to cite the evaporation of judicial restraint as the guiding principle of conservative jurisprudence. He notes the very real possibility that, if a Republicans wins the white house, there is a danger that they will push forward Supreme Court nominees who are opposed to Medicare, Social Security and even child labor laws. Tomasky concludes with the nightmare scenario that electing a Republican president could mean that “we could end up with two or three more Alitos on the bench.”
On the spectrum of issues including campaign finance reform, voting rights, economic justice and worker rights, the Supreme Court’s majority is already quite reactionary, despite the Obamacare and gay marriage rulings. If a Republican wins the white house next year, the high court could get even worse. Progressive unity behind the Democratic presidential nominee in the fall of 2016 is an imperative, not only for the survival of the Democratic Party, but perhaps also for American democracy.