How Conservative Justices Are Undermining Our Democracy (or What's at Stake in Choosing Justice Scalia's Successor?)
18 Pages Posted: 9 Sep 2016 Last revised: 8 Nov 2016
Date Written: September 8, 2016
In this essay, Professor Garfield contends that the conservative justices on the Supreme Court have allowed elected officials to manipulate laws to entrench themselves in office and to disenfranchise voters who threaten their power. The justices’ unwillingness to curb these abuses has largely redounded to the benefit of the Republican Party because Republicans control the majority of state legislatures and have used this power to gerrymander legislative districts and to enact voter‑suppressive laws such as voter ID laws. With Justice Antonin Scalia’s unexpected passing during the administration of a Democratic president, the conservatives’ control of the Court has been put into play. While the media and presidential candidates have focused on the implications of a shifting Court majority for individual rights, it is likely that, behind the scenes, politicians are much more focused on the implications of a shifting majority for their ability to hold onto power.
Keywords: Supreme Court, Judges, Constitutional Law, Democracy
JEL Classification: K10
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation