January 11, 2005

Backlash against a conservative Supreme Court?

Here's a piece by Jeremy Buchman in The New Republic arguing that social conservatives will regret it if they get their way and Bush appoints very conservative new Supreme Court Justices. On the assumption that such Justices would radically overturn precedent and resurrect the pre-1937 view of congressional powers, Buchman speculates that the new Court would provoke a backlash that would hurt conservatives the way the backlash against Roe v. Wade hurt liberals.

I doubt that the strong conservatives currently being discussed as potential nominees would overturn settled expectations as much as Buchman predicts, but of course it is necessary for him to posit extreme changes before the warning about political backlash seems plausible, because federalism-based limitations on Congress are not something that tends to stir up ordinary voters -- certainly not the way abortion did.

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