Threatening the Supreme Court has become a required public exhibition of faith for Democrats
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., has joined the growing ranks of members of Congress in issuing a warning to the Supreme Court: reaffirm Roe v. Wade or else.
The “else” varies from promises to pack the court to personal accountability for justices. For Shaheen, it is a promise of “revolution.”
It is the latest demand that the justice yield to popular demand or any countervailing interpretation of the Constitution. Or else.
“So you say you want a revolution.” However, these threats are an attack on the very concept of impartial judicial review. “When you talk about destruction” of our traditions of judicial review, as the Beatles declared in 1968, “you can count me out.”
Threatening the Supreme Court has become something of a required public exhibition of faith for Democrats, a demonstration that abstract notions like judicial independence will not distract from achieving political results.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., previously warned the Supreme Court that, if it continued to issue conservative rulings or “chipped away at Roe v Wade” it would trigger “a seismic movement to reform the Supreme Court. It may not be expanding the Supreme Court, it may be making changes to its jurisdiction, or requiring a certain numbers of votes to strike down certain past precedents.”
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., called out Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, declaring in front of the Supreme Court, “I want to tell you, Gorsuch, I want to tell you, Kavanaugh, you have released the whirlwind, and you will pay the price.”
The message is clear and unambiguous: vote “correctly” or you will face personal or institutional repercussions.
It was once viewed as anathema to attack the court or threaten retaliation if justices did not vote as demanded.
According to these politicians, the media and many in academia, justices should consider such consequences in reading the Constitution. These types of extrinsic considerations are anathema to ethical judging. A jurist should not be concerned how her ruling will be received as opposed to whether it is based on principled interpretative principles.