Justice Kagan warns US Supreme Court must maintain public trust

BIG SKY, Montana, July 21 (Reuters) – Liberal Justice Elena Kagan said on Thursday it would be “a dangerous thing for a democracy” if the conservative-dominated U.S. Supreme Court lost the trust of the American public.

Speaking in public for the first time since the court‘s landmark decision last month that overturned the landmark Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion nationwide, Kagan stressed the importance for judges to stay within their role as judges and not to dictate public policy. Read more

“I’m not talking about a particular decision or even a particular series of decisions, but if over time the court loses all connection with the public and with public sentiment, that is a dangerous thing for a democracy” , Kagan told a court conference. in Montana.

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The court, America’s highest judicial body, has a 6-3 conservative majority that has boldly asserted its power in ruling on abortion and other recent cases. Read more

“Overall, the way the court maintains its legitimacy and fosters public trust is by acting like a court, by doing the kinds of things that don’t seem political or partisan to people,” added Kagan, who has served on the court since then. 2010. .

Kagan, who dissented in the abortion case along with the other two liberal justices, added that the court “earns its legitimacy by what it does, by how it conducts itself.”

She said there have been times in history when the court has been “unconstrained and unruly” when judges “really just tried to basically enact their own policy or political or social preferences” and said that current judges should guard against this.

Kagan also said judges must be consistent when implementing their judicial philosophies and cannot abandon this approach when it does not lead to their preferred outcome.

Opinion polls showed a drop in public approval for the court following the abortion ruling, which capped its blockbuster tenure that ended last month. In other rulings, the court strengthened gun rights, expanded religious rights and restricted the ability of President Joe Biden’s administration to issue sweeping regulations aimed at reducing carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants. and existing gas.

The court’s new term begins in October with Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, appointed by Biden to replace fellow liberal Stephen Breyer, who retired last month.

Among the cases he has already addressed for his next term are two that give his conservative bloc an opportunity to end race-sensitive college and university policies in admissions to achieve greater student diversity. The court also considered two major election cases that could have broad implications for the 2024 elections and beyond.

(This story refiles to correct a typographical error in paragraph 3)

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Reporting by Dane Levine; Additional reporting and writing by Lawrence Hurley; Editing by Will Dunham

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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