The Court Gone Wrong

What is happening on the Supreme Court of the United States?  The Court has overruled Roe v. Wade. It has rejected the whole idea of a right to privacy. It is sharply restricting the ability of federal agencies to protect safety, health, and the environment. It is limiting voting rights. It is expanding the rights of gun owners, commercial advertisers, and those who wish to spend a lot of money on political campaigns. It is moving very quickly, and almost always in directions favored by the political right.          None of this comes out of the blue. It is the culmination of four decades of intense work, meant to move constitutional law in exactly these directions — work by activists and scholars, politicians and lawyers-for-hire, corporate lobbyists and the National Rifle Association, religious organizations and the Federalist Society. It was a long process, but it seems fair to announce that they have finally won.          I received a firsthand sense of what was afoot in 2002, when I found myself in a large audience at the University of Chicago Law School, waiting to hear a speech by Douglas H. Ginsburg, who was then Chief Judge of the influential Court of Appeals in Washington, DC. Tall and thin, with a bemused and scholarly manner, Judge Ginsburg is an able and fair-minded judge. He is a generous and kind person to boot. He is also a graduate of the University of Chicago Law School, which was my home institution at the time. I like and admire him. But on that day I was flabbergasted by what I heard; actually I was appalled. Judge Ginsburg called for something like a constitutional revolution.    Judge Ginsburg contended that the Supreme Court abandoned the United States Constitution in the 1930s, when it capitulated to Franklin

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