Jun 22, 2022
Roberts Passes Test: Politicization of Judicial Appointment is
Disheartening," read a 2005 headline from Salisbury,
Times. "Ignore the attacks
on Neil Gorsuch. He’s an intellectual giant — and a good man,"
Robert P. George pleaded in The Washington Post in 2017. Ketanji Brown Jackson’s Supreme Court
nomination "is beyond politics," South Carolina Congressman James
Clyburn told CBS's Face the Nation in 2022.
hear the same refrains over and over about the US federal court
system in general and the U.S. Supreme Court in particular.
They’re independent judiciaries.
They abide by the Constitution, the rule of law, the law of the
land. They follow legal precedent. They’re bastions of integrity
and impartiality. It’s
reassuring to think of our courts as measured, fair, upholding
democracy, and acting in the public’s interest.
history shows that these articles of faith are undeserved. The
courts are profoundly political, and they wield power that affects
every corner of people’s lives, from healthcare to policing,
education to climate. So why is it that The Courts are awarded such
mystique? What purpose does it serve to paint them as untouchable
and unquestionable, existing outside of politics? And how does this
framing stack the deck against those seeking long overdue and
radical change to our systems? On this episode, we examine how media have helped
manufacture the sense of ennobled secrecy of the Supreme Court and
broader so-called "justice system," looking at the ways in which
the courts’ power runs counter to the will and needs of the public,
the creation of campaigns to feign judicial impartiality and
apoliticism, and the American exceptionalism that undergirds
popular framings of one of the world’s most reactionary
guest is writer Josie Duffy Rice.