The Supreme Court at the crossroads of piracy

But TNR contributor Simon Lazarus saw the Supreme Court’s OSHA ruling as a glimmer of hope that not all conservative justices were ready to dive headlong into hacking. While the six Tory justices agreed to overturn the rule, the Tory bloc was split in its reasoning behind the move. The opinion offered by Justices Roberts, Kavanaugh and Barrett applied “doctrinal and jurisprudential notions of how to interpret regulatory statutes,” Lazarus told me. It was simply their conclusion that was wrong, which “in my opinion should not have prohibited the OSHA rule as written.”

Perhaps the Supreme Court has not yet entered its age of piracy. But it still seems like we’re close. As TNR Alex Pareene wrotein October 2020, it would be gullible to think that Supreme Court justices are anything other than politicians themselves, regardless of their claims to “just call bullets and strikes.”

And like Atlanticby Ronald Brownstein underline a few weeks ago, even John Roberts, the holy institutionalist, attacked the right to vote with a zeal that borders on politics. Quoting Harvard law professor Nicholas Stephanopoulos, Brownstein notes that “the Roberts Court has…never struck down a law making it harder to vote.” In the meantime, he nonetheless “reversed efforts to ensure voter access, crack down on gerrymanders, and limit political contributions and spending.” That Roberts simply has naive ideas about white racial innocence or has an active animosity against the vote of non-conservatives, it is difficult to distinguish his actions from those of some politicians, simply hostile to equal voting rights.

This Supreme Court has a successful caseload before it this term; it’s likely that the United States will be a very different place in the end. Perhaps a certain sense of decorum, respect for established precedents and respect for jurisprudential principles will guide the decisions of this court. Or it might just set the rules as it goes, set a precedent in the wood chipper, and leave angsty lawyers asking desperately, “Brother, do you even have watch the decision?” As Bob Dylan once sang, “It’s not dark yet, but it’s coming.”

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