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Ignore the progressives’ howling about the Supreme Court’s ‘legitimacy’

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01.07.2022

Progressives are howling that the Supreme Court’s conservative turn this term heralds a decline in the court’s “legitimacy.” As if.

Nothing about the court’s legitimacy has changed. The only thing that has changed is its judicial philosophy, and if progressives don’t like it, they must do what others aggrieved at the court have done throughout our history: mobilize to turn the tide in their favor.

The Supreme Court in early U.S. history did not issue many decisions that determined which political faction prevailed. Indeed, it was not until 1857 that the court stepped into the political minefield with its outrageous ruling in Dred Scott v. Sandford that no descendant of slaves could be an American citizen. Abraham Lincoln and other Republicans decried the decision and pledged to organize the court to ensure it was overturned. It took the Civil War to grant them that power.

Later, in the early 20th century, conservatives used their court majority to strike down state economic regulations, in what has been called the Lochner era. Liberals and progressives of the day responded by adopting a doctrine of deference to legislative bodies (which, not coincidentally, their........

© Washington Post


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