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The Supreme Court Is the Last Properly Functioning Institution in America

Posted on Friday, March 8, 2024
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by Outside Contributor
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Close up of Supreme Court certificate

In a 9-0 decision, the Supreme Court ruled states cannot use Section 3 of the 14th Amendment to kick former President Donald Trump off state ballots over his alleged “insurrectionist” actions on Jan. 6, 2021.

Learning that state officials aren’t empowered to simply toss leading presidential candidates off ballots came as a great surprise to many incredulous left-wingers. Once you’ve convinced yourself Trump led a Hitlerian putsch that nearly overthrew democracy, every crackpot legal theory aimed at stopping him sounds not only morally justified but legally sound.

Just last week, progressives were fuming that the Supreme Court hasn’t expedited Trump’s immunity claims to fit with President Joe Biden’s campaign schedule.

The deeper problem, though, is that the Left — but, really, anyone who is Trump-obsessed — can’t seem to comprehend the notion of neutrality in law or principle. Here, for instance, is how the Associated Press framed the court’s decision: “Supreme Court restores Trump to ballot, rejecting state attempts to hold him accountable for attack on Capitol in 2021.”

That is, most definitely, not what happened. SCOTUS ruled on the constitutional question. Whether Colorado thinks it’s holding Trump accountable — and the contention that he engaged in “insurrection” is, let’s just say, highly debatable — is another story.

In any event, the case is another reminder that the Supreme Court is perhaps the only functioning institution of government. By “functioning,” of course, I don’t mean the court “moves the country forward,” “upholds democracy,” “keeps us safe,” or any of the other twaddle leftists insist constitutes good governance. I mean a court majority takes its constitutional mandate, as written, seriously.

No, SCOTUS doesn’t get every case right. Sometimes, led by the chief justice, it is perplexingly Solomonic. But it is wrong within the contours of normal. Congress, on the other hand, has handed its responsibilities on war, spending and governing to the executive branch. At this point, we are far more likely to see a congressman dunking on someone on social media than acting to defend the document he swore to uphold.

Worse, Democrats are often cheerleaders for more executive abuse. The White House, also abnormally, feels unfettered in regulating the economy and our lives with no oversight from the legislative branch or voters. Biden openly ignores the court. The most obvious example is the unconstitutional student loan “forgiveness” plan, a transparent effort to bribe younger voters.

Sure, the Colorado ballot case was so weak that even Justice Sonia Sotomayor couldn’t go along with Democrats. That’s rare. If it weren’t for originalists (for lack of a better word), the country would have been plunged into chaos long ago, and not only on the political front.

In July 2020, the Supreme Court’s approval rating stood at 58 percent. A few months earlier, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer threatened justices with a “whirlwind” if they ignored the will of the Democratic Party. Democrats have been ratcheting up their attacks on the court since former President Barack Obama used his State of the Union to publicly castigate it upholding the First Amendment.

Since that time, a concerted project among donors, politicians and major media organizations to smear and delegitimize the high court has been underway. It’s working. As of the last poll taken, the court’s approval rating had fallen to 41% and its disapproval was at 58%, most of the change driven by left-wing voters.

Most of the justices have been impressively resistant to the pressures of politics. The court, obviously, was conceived to be impervious to the vagaries of public opinion. This is an upsetting notion for people like Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), one of the nation’s leading conspiracy theorists, who believes low poll numbers are proof of a legitimacy problem. What, one wonders, does that say about the 12% approval of Congress?

Every time the Left suffers a setback at SCOTUS, they accuse justices with long histories of consistent judicial philosophy of corruption. When the conservatives lose — as they did recently with North Carolina redistricting and the case covering gender dysphoria under disability laws — the media act like it is some huge surprise that the court didn’t act reflexively partisan. This, like so many of the contemporary Left’s accusations, is just projection.

The reason the Left has a poor record in front of the court — and the trend goes back to Obama’s historic string of losses — isn’t that SCOTUS is bought. It’s that the contemporary Left’s vision of governance conflicts with the Constitution. If the Left doesn’t destroy the court, it is likely blue states will begin ignoring it.

But for now, SCOTUS remains perhaps the last institutional bulwark against lawlessness and nuttery.

David Harsanyi is a senior editor at The Federalist. Harsanyi is a nationally syndicated columnist and author of five books — the most recent, “Eurotrash: Why America Must Reject the Failed Ideas of a Dying Continent.” His work has appeared in National Review, the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Reason, New York Post and numerous other publications. Follow him on Twitter @davidharsanyi.

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PaulE
PaulE
4 months ago

Just remember that the SC is our last line of defense only as long as the current make-up of the Court stands. If Biden or any other Democrat “wins” the WH later this year and the Democrats succeed in retaining the Senate and re-taking the House (It is a very real possibility based on recent rulings in NY, Wisconsin, California and elsewhere), the Democrats will revive their push to pack the SC with either additional leftist judges or push to try remove one or more of the current conservative judges from the bench by any means necessary. What the left wants is a rubber stamp for their agenda, NOT an unbiased ruling based on what is written in the Constitution.

It took decades for the left to install their allies in various state and federal courts around the country. That the SC is the last place where one has a chance at getting a non-political ruling on what should be straight-forward constitutional matters is a testament to what happens when the American public is too apathetic for far too long on who is being nominated or elected to various judgeships around the country. What we’re now seeing in terms of “lawfare” around the country, by various Democrat judges and DAs, is what you would expect to experience in China, Russia or most leftist countries in South America and Africa. That is of course NOT Rule of Law or blind justice, but rather the courts being used as a political weapon against those that pose a potential threat to the regime in power.

Richard Mitchell
Richard Mitchell
4 months ago

IMHO, the recent decision, UNANIMOUS decision, by SCOTUS, telling the states they cannot just arbitrarily kick somebody off the ballot that they don’t like, for whatever reason, is something they just cannot do, legally. Since it was a UNANIMOUS decision, does that not show that the system, our legal system, is ACTUALLY working? But if SCOTUS makes a decision that the left does not like, they come out with claims of “Oh, we got to do away with it; we have to change it.” They, the left, i.e., Democrats, act like cry babies when they don’t get their way. Well, in this case, they did not get their way, because They, the Left, are WRONG. And SCOTUS was CORRECT, and the left just doesn’t like it. “Oh, mommy they won’t let me have my way…”

NeilRK
NeilRK
4 months ago

What about the matter of Biden’s oath at inauguration to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States? Is it invalid?

temp mail
temp mail
4 months ago

My brother was absolutely right when he suggested that I would like this website. You have no idea how much time I spent looking for this information, but this post made my day.

Lover of God and America!
Lover of God and America!
4 months ago

AMEN! The ONLY group that upholds our Constitution!!!

Garyk
Garyk
4 months ago

9-0 was the correct descision, but be careful to read to much into the Supreme Court with its slight conservative representation.
Robert has been easily swayed by being important on the Washington circles.

Garyk
Garyk
4 months ago

Let’s hope it’s true, the Supreme Court has several more America saving decisions to make.
The marxist democrat party is hell bent on expanding the court so ot can be used as a rubber stamp to destroy Freedom and Our Constitution.
God willing they will stand strong against the insanity of democrats!

John
John
4 months ago

While they may be the last, I would hardly call them functional.I think the 9.0 decision was a last hara before they stop actually interpreting the law / constitution.So when they start giving into the Totalitarian Communist Democrat comrades demands, which they have already done on many cases.Look we gave you a unified decision on the Trump case .

Michael A Fuselier
Michael A Fuselier
4 months ago

Amen, and amen!

Hgk
Hgk
4 months ago

Been left-wing commies ever since Warren Ct. They Ruined education, religion, HUD, etc

Mark
Mark
4 months ago

Richard; They’re not Democrats any longer. They keep saying we have to save the Democracy; newsflash the founding fathers called it a Republic… Code for freedoms within the framework of the Law, Gods law, the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

Mark
Mark
4 months ago

Yeh, Praise the Lord God for the Supreme Court, at least those who have their scrupples; for the others, STOP BEING BIASED, LOVE THE COUNTRY OR LEAVE IT.

David Duringer
David Duringer
4 months ago

If SCOTUS were functioning properly, the other two branches would also be functioning properly.

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