New Yorker: Supreme Court’s Contempt for Congress


“The Roberts Court has lost faith in the democratic process,” Professor Karlan wrote, noting that the conservative justices, at least in practice, reject the idea that the political branches have a “special institutional competence” in addressing certain questions. In his argument in the voting-rights case, Solicitor General Donald Verrilli tried this line, too, insisting on “the deference that Congress is owed… because, frankly, of the superior institutional competence of Congress to make these kinds of judgments.” This is probably a losing proposition on its face, unless one is talking about Congress’s superior competence at walking in circles with its shoes tied together. But when the legislative branch is not only disrespected but disabled—when the Court waves away the intent of Congress and takes away its tools to redress social and economic inequities—then Congress may well go to hell, and we’re going with it.

The post does not mention federal Indian law, or Adoptive Parents v. Baby Girl, or the oral arguments in the Bay Mills case, the inclusion of which would only make the argument stronger. And is yet another in a long list of reasons why this Court is no friend to Indian tribes.