Anthony Kennedy Denounces Anthony Kennedy’s Supreme Court Jurisprudence


Justice Anthony Kennedy thinks our political system should solve more problems on its own, instead of turning to the courts to solve them. Jonathan Adler is unimpressed:

In most cases, the Supreme Court intervenes not to help the democratic process to function, but rather to alter the way in which these questions have been resolved. Moreover, Justice Kennedy is more prone to support such intervention than most of his colleagues, having voted to invalidate DOMA, Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act, McCain-Feingold, the PPACA, the Stolen Valor Act, and so on. The only sense in which these questions were not “solved” before they came to the Court is in that the resolution was not that which Justice Kennedy would have preferred (or which Justice Kennedy believed is constitutionally compelled).

The Supreme Court, if it chose, could informally agree to overturn only those laws that are definitively unconstitutional. It has, needless to say, chosen nothing of the sort, with justices at both ends of the political spectrum routinely voting to overturn statutes based on wholly novel and often tortuous lines of reasoning. In recent years, this has been far more common among Kennedy and his fellow conservatives than among the liberal justices.

However, if Kennedy is serious, perhaps he should propose a constitutional amendment that would require a two-thirds majority to overturn an act of Congress. More prosaically, since Kennedy is so often a swing vote, he could personally decide never to overturn a law unless there were at least five other votes already in favor. But he pretty obviously hasn’t the slightest intention of doing so.

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate