At The Economist: Supreme Court term limits, some considerations by Political Reporter

If your have served on a jury or been called for jury duty in the US, I have been called three times in the last few years, the Judge will casually announce, to the assembled prospective jurors, that the Court is above or supersedes morality. I had the temerity to assert in the voir dire phase, that morality trumped law! Even that old misogynist and misanthrope Justice Holmes opined that the law was ‘a kind of public morality’. Leave it for the lawyers to interpret the word ‘kind’!

See Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes: Law and the Inner Self published by OUP by Prof.G.Edward White for the biographical/political particulars, just call this an exercise in Holmes apologetics. On Holmes the judge  see Law Without Values by Albert W. Alschuler, published by The University of Chicago Press,  reviewed in these pages on February 24, 2001 page 86, call this a necessary antidote to the incense burners!
The question of the age of the Justices is a dodge, when one considers that the Court is peopled by millionaires or are, at the least, extremely wealthy. The Economist doesn’t discuss the idea or functioning of class in it’s consideration of the burning question of age. It is antithetical to the conservative mind set, or just part of the Oxbridger’s creed.
And then there is the thorny question of the rise of the Neo-Confederate/Originalists: Scalia,Thomas,Roberts and Alito and their sometime sidekick, or better yet, fellow traveler Kennedy.The colonization of the Court by these political romantics began with Richard Nixon’s appointment of Rehnquist. See The Partisan: The Life of William Rehnquist’ by John A. Jenkins, not a flattering portrait and Reagan’s appointment of Scalia : see American Original,The Life and Constitution of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia by Joan Biskupic, call this almost hagiography.

The questions of class and of ideology are of more central concern than age. That question of age might make for an interesting dinner conversation with one or more of those aforementioned incense burners, who chatter in the courtrooms of America, about the majesty of the law framed in the self-exculpatory: the modern day equivalent to the  Sophists.

Political Reporter


About stephenkmacksd

Rootless cosmopolitan,down at heels intellectual;would be writer. 'Polemic is a discourse of conflict, whose effect depends on a delicate balance between the requirements of truth and the enticements of anger, the duty to argue and the zest to inflame. Its rhetoric allows, even enforces, a certain figurative licence. Like epitaphs in Johnson’s adage, it is not under oath.'
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