Against the partisan labeling of Supreme Court Justices

My colleague Lawrence Friedman (an occasional contributor to this blog) has a very nice piece in The Hill today, explaining why labeling individual Supreme Court Justices as “liberal” or “conservative” is a mistake. A snippet:

Attaching such labels to the justices is a common and unfortunate fixture of our politically polarized era. To be sure, the conservative and liberal tags may be accurate to the extent that they characterize the results of a Supreme Court decision as more favorable to one or the other political camp. The labels serve to shorthand judicial decisions for people who desire to know the bottom line. Does the result favor my side or theirs?

But it does not follow that the justices should be characterized in the same way. The shorthand may be helpful to those readers or viewers seeking to absorb the implications of a Supreme Court decision. The problem is that these labels fail accurately to reflect both the role of the Supreme Court in our governmental scheme and the ways in which the justices approach the critical task of judicial review in our democracy.

I urge you to read the whole thing.

One thought on “Against the partisan labeling of Supreme Court Justices”

  1. Really nice piece, and extremely important. Yet, it doesn’t help much.For even other scholars, tend to label so judges, surly then, the public opinion as a whole ( influenced by them simply). To attack it, by stating that they ( the judges ) deal with complex issues, either won’t do. For the result, would prevail finally. There are many ways to attack it, surly can’t be exhausted here, but one:

    Whatsoever, one judge, would always reach his decision, while being based on : jurisprudence and legal, constitutional reasoning. That is to say, that whatsoever, the decision is legitimate and legally correct ( prima facie at least ). But, if one judge, would have to face dilemma or conflict between:

    Totally or fundamentally Illegal, unconstitutional decision on one hand, and his personal views on the other, no doubt, that typically, one judge would prevail in favor of the former over the latter. Now, that’s a hell of difference. Because whatsoever, judges disagree with each other, even in apparently neutral issues.

    Explaining it, may constitute a certain game changer in that wrongful perception of that tragic issue.



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