[S]ome liberal legal scholars suggest that beyond political tactics, what the left urgently needs is a long-term strategy built around an affirmative message of what the Constitution means and what the enterprise of constitutional interpretation should be about....Recapturing the government’s ability to intervene for the benefit of African-Americans and other minority groups without being constrained by the formal and ahistorical neutrality that liberals saw as the conceptual flaw in the chief justice’s opinion a little over a week ago invalidating two voluntary school integration plans. That's one hell of a snappy phrase.
Exactly what that vision should encompass is now the question. It is easy enough to find consensus on a checklist that would include a robust reading of the guarantees of the Bill of Rights, including the notion that some rights are fundamental; a constitutional interpretation not tethered to a search for the framers’ original intent; invigorating the right to privacy to include personal privacy in the electronic age; restoring the shield of habeas corpus; and recapturing the government’s ability to intervene for the benefit of African-Americans and other minority groups without being constrained by the formal and ahistorical neutrality that liberals saw as the conceptual flaw in the chief justice’s opinion a little over a week ago invalidating two voluntary school integration plans.
Actually, the reason that item looked so awkward on the checklist is that it's different from all the other items. Greenhouse had to strain to try to make it not look different. Everything else is about expanding constitutional rights, and that one's about narrowing rights. The way you "recapture" "ability" (AKA power) for the government is by cutting out the rights.
Greenhouse interviewed a few liberal lawprofs who bemoaned the loss of the "heroic" liberal Supreme Court justice and spoke of a long time line for getting back to a Court that would resemble what we had in the days of Earl Warren. But there's no substance to this plan. It's just the expression of a wish about the future (or a longing for the past).
This grand vision for a Court that would expansively and actively enforce rights will be seen by present day voters as a political proposal. If people today really want that vision, they can get it from the political branches. They don't need a reactivated liberal Court.
The liberal lawprofs' dream seems to be that you could get people to believe that the expansive vision of rights is the proper way to do constitutional interpretation and they'd be willing to go along with that even if they didn't want these rights enough to support enacting them into law through statutes. But what are the chances that people today would allow liberal academics to convince them of such a thing?