pageok
pageok
pageok
Covering 2,691 Opinions:

Linda Greenhouse reflects on her many years covering the Supreme Court. Her concluding thought: "The court is in Americans' collective hands. We shape it; it reflects us. At any given time, we may not have the Supreme Court we want. We may not have the court we need. But we have, most likely, the Supreme Court we deserve."

Just Saying:
The court is in Americans' collective hands. We shape it; it reflects us.

Pretty weak poetry. A good portion of Americans give essentially no input because they don't vote; of those that do, we indirectly elect the person who makes the appointments, and two of the hundred people who vote on the confirmation. To the extent it's influenced by amorphous 'public opinion', the Court has show just as not if not more interest in international elite opinion. Lawrence is a fantastic example.
7.13.2008 10:51am
tarheel:
Whatever you think of Greenhouse, and I know a lot of people here are not fans, this is a fascinating piece.
7.13.2008 11:13am
MJG:
Hasn't Jeffrey Toobin been saying that line for awhile?
7.13.2008 11:24am
SpenceB:
[ Just Saying: '...The court is in Americans' collective hands. We shape it; it reflects us.'

" Pretty weak poetry. A good portion of Americans give essentially no input because they don't vote; of those that do, we indirectly elect the person who makes the appointments, and two of the hundred people who vote on the confirmation... " ]

_______________

...yes, pure fiction ('poetry') from a professional journalist.

Our current President assumed office with the votes of only 30.6% of the people (2004: vote-eligible Americans). Rare is any other President or Congressman that took office with a true American majority vote supporting him. Any real connection between SCOTUS and the citizens is fantasy.

Yet we live in the media popular fiction of a 'majority-rule democracy' ... shaped by the citizens (??)
7.13.2008 12:39pm
krs:
Interesting. I wonder if the part about her not being a total hack toward Bork is true.
7.13.2008 12:45pm
Sam Hall (mail):
"At any given time, we may not have the Supreme Court we want. We may not have the court we need. But we have, most likely, the Supreme Court we deserve."

Greenhouse taking a figure of speech from Rumsfeld? Did the sun arise in the west or something?
7.13.2008 12:52pm
jgshapiro (mail):
It is a fascinating piece. Greenhouse has been covering the Court for longer than I think anyone else currently covering it, won a pulitzer prize doing so, and even had the phrase "Greenhouse Effect" named after her for her impact on the Court's actions. So its interesting to hear her end-of-career observations.

As to Just Saying's point, I think she said the Court reflects what we deserve, not what a single voter deserves. "We" here is used in the sense of the entire country. So electing two national individuals (prez and VP) and collectively 100 senators gets you to that point, even if any of us only gets to vote on two senators. And if the justices selected occasionally refer to international jurisprudence as a reality-check on what has and has not worked in other places, isn't that also, by extension, what a majority of Americans want from the court -- even if a majority of the VC readers do not want it? We (the VC readership) are not exactly a representative crowd.
7.13.2008 12:53pm
Sam Hall (mail):
". And if the justices selected occasionally refer to international jurisprudence as a reality-check on what has and has not worked in other places, isn't that also, by extension, what a majority of Americans want from the court"

No, we want them to do what they swore to do:

"I, [NAME], do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will administer justice without respect to persons, and do equal right to the poor and to the rich, and that I will faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all the duties incumbent upon me as [TITLE] under the Constitution and laws of the United States. So help me God.''
7.13.2008 1:14pm
U.Va. 3L:
No, we want them to do what they swore to do:

But what makes you think your interpretation of the oath is representative of the majority? For example, the majority might think that the sort of foreign-law-search undertaken in Lawrence is faithful to the oath of office. (I think that's unlikely, but it's a possibility that has to be considered.)
7.13.2008 1:45pm
PersonFromPorlock:
My Marxist college roommate (a red diaper baby) used to defend the Soviet Union's prohibition of labor unions on the grounds that the workers already controlled their workplaces through the Party. I suspect that Greenhouse's "The court is in Americans' collective hands. We shape it; it reflects us." is equally delusional.
7.13.2008 2:10pm
ejo:
well, when the Court takes that flight of fancy, its judgments about what america wants (our collective society as it is evolving) are quite wrong as recent opinions show. it doesn't reflect us and, if the Court knew its role, it wouldn't have to as we have elected representatives for that job.
7.13.2008 2:14pm
ejo:
UVA-if the Court somehow opines that the Country is moving in a certain direction when the evidence is that 70-80% of the population believe in the exact opposite direction, the Court is either stupid or, more likely, telling a flat out lie. the Court's role in government is serious enough and complicated enough without delusions of grandeur.
7.13.2008 2:19pm
Doug Berman (mail) (www):
Until the members of the Court become much more diverse in personal and professional background, I do not think the Supreme Court truly reflects "us" (unless "us" is defined in terms of legal elites).
7.13.2008 2:25pm
RDixon:
"Hasn't Jeffrey Toobin been saying that line for awhile?"

No, it was Barbara Walters
7.13.2008 2:39pm
p. rich (mail) (www):
More Greenhouse drivel. And not very original drivel at that.
7.13.2008 3:02pm
Kazinski:

Deserve's got nothin' to do with it.
- William Munny
7.13.2008 3:20pm
ReaderY:
Why not have democracy, and get what we deserve more efficiently and accountably?
7.13.2008 6:24pm
corneille1640 (mail):
I have not read Ms. Greenhouse's article, but the quotation cited in this post ("we have the Supreme Court we deserve"), at least out of context, does strike me as quite cheesy and cliche-ish.
7.13.2008 6:51pm
krs:
cheesy and cliche-ish is about right. don't let the door hit you on the way out.
7.13.2008 8:43pm
Glenn W. Bowen (mail):

At any given time, liberals may not have the Supreme Court we want. We may not have the court liberals need. But we have, most likely, the Supreme Court liberals deserve.
7.13.2008 10:13pm
Glenn W. Bowen (mail):

Why not have democracy, and get what we deserve more efficiently and accountably?


like efficient mob rule?
7.13.2008 10:14pm
ejo:
if the Supreme Court is basing its opinions on its personal preferences without regard to democratically elected government, isn't it giving us mob rule?
7.14.2008 11:28am
Arkady:

"At any given time, we may not have the Supreme Court we want. We may not have the court we need. But we have, most likely, the Supreme Court we deserve."

Greenhouse taking a figure of speech from Rumsfeld? Did the sun arise in the west or something?


Bernard Shaw, I think:

"Democracy is a device that insures we shall be governed no better than we deserve."
7.14.2008 1:01pm
lostmycookies (mail):
prich says:


More Greenhouse drivel. And not very original drivel at that



Amen to that, brother.
7.14.2008 1:23pm
Deoxy (mail):

if the Supreme Court is basing its opinions on its personal preferences without regard to democratically elected government, isn't it giving us mob rule?


No, it's giving authoritarian rule, which is, essentially, the opposite of mob rule. Neither is good.
7.14.2008 4:14pm
Jack M. (mail):
Greenhouse's quote is designed to be a "thought-terminating cliche," one that is supposed to stop us from questioning her or the Supreme Court's decisions that support her argument.

in other words, typical hack work from her.
7.16.2008 4:51pm