Not your Gingrich’s Supreme Court
The Supreme Court rediscovers federalism just in time for 2012 election.
Posted Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2011, at 4:53 PM ET
They say you are always fighting the last war. Perhaps the one place where that’s not the case is at the Supreme Court, where the justices are suddenly poised to fight the next one. When the court announced this week that it would hear a major Texas voting rights case, then took on the dispute over whether four provisions of SB1070—the draconian Arizona immigration law —it positioned itself at the forefront on a new constitutional fight about federalism and states’ rights. Throw in the justices’ decision to determine the constitutionality of President Obama’s health care overhaul, and you are looking at a trifecta of cases that will put the court into the spotlight only weeks before the political conventions open this summer.
But it’s worth pointing out that while the nine members of the court have now been inserted (or found themselves injected) into an election year in ways we haven’t seen since the New Deal, it is not with the sort of hot-button issues that have made the court a political football for decades. Even though the GOP nominees will continue to rail against the elitist godless unelected social engineers at the high court, the pending cases raise none of their signature issues. That means that as we debate the role of the courts in America next November, instead of the stale culture war sound bites that have made the court a voting issue for the past 25 years, it will be the concerns of Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Party that frame the way Americans think and talk about the court.
Read the full story here: Slate Magazine