Moderate Justice Stephen Breyer defends apolitical Supreme Court

Justice Stephen G. Breyer warned on Tuesday that expanding the size of the Supreme Court could erode public trust in it by sending the message that it is at its core a political institution.


Just because a partisan majority held that partisan gerrymandering was no longer the Supreme Court’s concern, that the 1965 Voting Rights Act reauthorized 98-0 in the Senate could be stripped of its enforcement power, that unlimited dark money in political campaigns is protected speech, (and most recently, that partisan voting laws enacted to give one party an advantage, based on a “perception” of fraud, were fine, absent concrete proof that the targeted voters were impacted directly — and deliberately — on the basis of race or another constitutionally protected category [1]) doesn’t mean the 6-3 majority is partisan.

Calling the Supreme Court partisan, or accusing justices of being “political” just because all six conservatives support and adhere to the ideology of the same right-wing, corporatist legal fraternity, the Federalist Society, is a grievous insult to the integrity of the court, insists apolitical Justice Stephen Breyer.

Meanwhile, the thoughtful moderate Joe Biden lets his committee of academics (appointed with all deliberate speed on April 9, 2021) complete their six-month deliberations before they announce whether or not they think the 6-3 highly partisan Supreme Court majority is enough of a threat to democracy to add four more independent-minded justices to the mix.

And fair-minded Stephen Breyer continues to insist, no matter what decisions his six ideologically united colleagues make, that the Court never takes politics into consideration — even when one party (whose presidents appointed all six of the 6-3 bloc) appears to be on the ropes, and headed for extinction, if widespread, targeted voter suppression is not immediately ruled kosher, legal and unappealably constitutional in every swing state.



Wikipedia hasn’t updated its Voting Rights Act page to reflect the recent decision that the 6-3 majority found Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act (even inadvertently discriminatory voting laws are prohibited if they have a disparate impact on certain citizens) unconstitutional, but this is pretty good:

The pending case Brnovich v. Democratic National Committee (2021) is expected to evaluate the applicability of Section 2 in the wake of the decision of Shelby. The case involves a challenge to a set of Arizona election laws and policies that the Democratic National Party asserted were discriminatory towards Hispanics and Native Americans under VRA’s Section 2. While lower courts upheld the election laws, an en banc Ninth Circuit reversed the decision and found these laws to be in violation of Section 2. The question of Section 2’s applicability is the crux of the case at the Supreme Court.[159]

During oral arguments on March 2, 2021, Michael Garvin, an attorney representing the Arizona Republican party, was asked by justice Amy Coney Barrett what interest the party had in invalidating the Arizona voting restrictions, to which Garvin replied, “Because it puts us at a competitive disadvantage relative to Democrats.”[160][161][162]


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