Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Progressives and the Court

Edward Lazarus argues that, in effect, the golden age of judicial progressivism from 1954 to 1973 is an historical aberration. However "disastrous" from his point of view, the Roberts Court is closer to the norm. His conclusion is one that conservatives should also take to heart:

The challenge for progressives, then, is twofold. The first is to wean themselves off what has become an excessive reliance on the judicial branch to achieve their social and political goals. Progressives will now have to win their battles in the political arena.

Second, progressives need to consider whether they can make common cause with some conservatives. Such a potential agenda does exist. Call it the "accountability agenda," focused on greater transparency in government and on enforcing the checks and balances at the Constitution’s structural core.

I’d put it this way: for the protection of our liberties, we should rely principally on the two political branches. John Roberts preached judicial modesty at his confirmation hearings. He has, I think, practiced it. Everything else should lie at the feet of Congress and the President.

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Progressives are interested in accountability? To themselves, maybe.

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