John Roberts has voiced concern: “Simply because people disagree with an opinion is not a basis for questioning the legitimacy of the court.”
It is all a bit passive-aggressive. It is also somewhat insulting to the intelligence of Americans who feel they are past the stage when the parents must spell out to each other the words they hope will not be understood. What the judges are talking about, when they talk about the court’s legitimacy, is whether the court is acting like just another political branch of government. And everyone knows the answer: of course it is. When Mitch McConnell, then Senate majority leader, refused for 294 days to grant even a hearing to President Barack Obama’s last pick for the court, calculating that doing so might help elect a Republican who would choose someone else, he did not protect anyone’s legitimacy. He advanced ideas of jurisprudence that, by happy coincidence, matched his political objectives. He got what he wanted — not just once, as it turned out, but three times, locking in the conservative majority. Can Americans really be expected to pretend that was not a political act, with a political outcome?