Has the Supreme Court Become Liberal?

Jonathan Bernstein is a Bloomberg View columnist. He taught political science at the University of Texas at San Antonio and DePauw University and wrote A Plain Blog About Politics.
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1. Has this become a liberal Supreme Court? Brendan Nyhan at The Upshot cites the political science finding that what’s really happening is that the cases they’re taking have changed, with some conservative activists overshooting and pushing weak cases that lose. Plausible!

2. See also Slate’s Dahlia Lithwick: Could it be the Court was never tempted to go the other way on King?

3. Jonathan Chait has a theory of why Obamacare isn’t popular. Maybe, among pundits -- but I think the president’s explanation is much stronger.

4. Philip Klein at the Washington Examiner: “If Republicans go back to hibernation mode on health care after this decision, it will guarantee that the next round of reform will once again wait until Democrats can reclaim power.”

5. Here at View, Cass Sunstein on the King case and the Chevron doctrine. By the way, one interpretation I’m seeing (see Greg Sargent here) is that King will now limit the ability of future Republican presidents to undermine the ACA by, for example, interpreting the key clauses from King the other way. I’m no lawyer, but the real reason why a future Republican president wouldn’t cut off subsidies in Republican states isn’t the possibility of the Court overturning it -- it’s that it would be political suicide. It’s one thing to attempt to disrupt insurance markets when a Democrat is president (and even then it would have been dicey for Republicans). It’s a whole different thing for a Republican in the Oval Office to do it.

6. At Election Law Blog, Rick Hasen also looks at the legal reasoning in King.

7. Jessica Green at the Monkey Cage assesses Pope Francis on the environment.

8. And at Democracy, Nathan Pippenger takes on my argument about democracy, saying that “it's the political expression of our moral belief in human equality.” I’m skeptical. It’s true that democracy does seem to require some belief in the value of individual humans; otherwise, why should anyone care if they have the opportunity to participate in politics? But equality as the core principle of democracy is, I suspect, either too much (because we hardly can believe that all democracy requires equality of outcomes) or too little (because it is possible to imagine non-democratic systems which would honor human equality in ways other than collective self-determination). That said: I like his use of Lincoln.

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To contact the author on this story:
Jonathan Bernstein at jbernstein62@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor on this story:
Cameron Abadi at cabadi2@bloomberg.net