Douglas Andrews / July 5, 2022

The Supreme Court Finally Delivers

After years of frustration, the High Court finally put together a historically great term.

“We need to reform or do away with the whole thing, for the sake of the planet.”

It’d be one thing if some ditzy, uninformed Manhattan bartender said this, but that’s not the case, No, this call to abolish the Supreme Court in the wake of its excellent ruling to rein in an overzealous Environmental Protection Agency came from a U.S. congresswoman named Sandy Cortez Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

This wasn’t the only idiotic thing AOC blurted out recently. After all, it’s been a tough couple of weeks for those who favor oppressive bureaucracies. “The Supreme Court has engaged in the overreaching of its authority in denying the human and civil rights of any pregnant person or person that could become pregnant in the United States of America,” she whined last Tuesday night on “The Late Show” with Stephen Colbert. “They have engaged in overreach, and it is the responsibility of the president and Congress to put the Supreme Court in check because they have delegitimized themselves.”

Setting aside the notion that we should take seriously anyone who uses eight tortured words, “pregnant person or person that could become pregnant,” to replace one perfectly good word, “woman,” the Supreme Court didn’t overreach at all in the decisions that marked an end to its best term in recent memory. In fact, it did just the opposite. In overturning Roe v. Wade, the High Court refreshingly acknowledged that it had no business in creating constitutional rights out of thin air.

It wasn’t just Sandy Cortez, either. Here’s Democrat Senator Elizabeth “Honest Injun” Warren: “Our planet is on fire, and this extremist Supreme Court has destroyed the federal government’s ability to fight back. This radical Supreme Court is increasingly facing a legitimacy crisis, and we can’t let them have the last word.”

And so, depending on your perspective, this was either a “catastrophic” term for the Supreme Court, as it was for leftists, or an outstanding one, as it was for those who believe in the Constitution and Rule of Law. Put us in the latter camp. Ditto for the editors at National Review, who write:

This year, for the first time in memory, the Supreme Court concluded a term in which it consistently did its job. The Court has been holding the line against liberal adventurism on a gradually lengthening list of issues for some decades, but with mixed results, especially on cultural issues. This year, the first full term since Justice Amy Coney Barrett replaced Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the Court not only resisted further mischief, it repeatedly stood up for the Constitution and the rule of written law to the point of rolling back ground seized by the anti-constitutionalists. The shrieking you hear in progressive quarters is the predictable result of rejecting their view of History.

This is the sort of performance we might reasonably expect every year from the Supreme Court, given that 20 of our last 29 justices have been appointed by Republican presidents, and given that we’ve had a Republican chief justice continuously for nearly 70 years. But it hasn’t been the case, mostly because whereas Democrat appointees to the High Court hew reliably to the belief in the ever-expanding role of government, Republican appointees often end up drifting leftward in search of friends and approval and affirmation. Chief Justice John Roberts is just the most recent example of this frustrating phenomenon. Meanwhile, we expect the newly sworn in Ketanji Brown Jackson to be as faithfully an activist as the now-retired Stephen Breyer.

Constitutional conservatism is a lonely business in Washington, DC, and not every justice is cut out for it. One justice who is, Clarence Thomas, was recently singled out by AOC: “I personally believe that Clarence Thomas should be impeached, beyond a shadow of a doubt. I am astonished that this is a position that is in any way controversial to anyone.”

Nope, nothing at all controversial about calling for the impeachment of Supreme Court justices who take the Constitution seriously.

It’s interesting, too, that in all the caterwauling we hear from AOC, we almost never hear her invoke the Constitution, nor defend her own institution’s role under Article I: “All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.”

Perhaps next time, instead of whining about what the Supreme Court did or didn’t do, Ocasio-Cortez and Warren and their Democrat colleagues should try passing legislation in lieu of relying on the executive or judicial branches to do their job for them.

“There is more work to be done,” conclude the editors at National Review. “More hot-button cases will be back in the fall. … For a year of doing their jobs in accordance with their judicial oaths, we say to the Court’s majority: Well done. Enjoy the summer.”

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