[T]he tone and posture of the court’s conservative majority made clear that it is not done asserting itself in redefining campaign finance laws, the rights of corporations, national security powers and the ownership of guns....Much of this is the familiar hand-wringing over Citizens United. The editors admit that a lot of what happened isn't so bad, but it must be bad. It's the Roberts Court. So:
Still, the problematic decisions continue to leave us worried about upcoming terms, where more decisions about fundamental rights await. In the last month alone, majorities on the court said gun ownership was a fundamental Second Amendment right that applies to states and cities, while reducing the First Amendment rights of those who try to pacify terrorist groups.Notice the big flip that's taken place in the last year or so. Liberals worry about constitutional rights getting in the way of legislation, and conservatives have cozied up to the notion of unwritten rights. For that to happen, everyone has to stop focusing on the right of privacy. Isn't it odd?
If Elena Kagan is confirmed, her first task will be to keep her pledge and help the court realize that judicial modesty actually means something.There's no other reference in the editorial to "judicial modesty" or Elena Kagan so I'm not sure what Kagan said that's being interpreted as a pledge by the new Justice to go in there and school the oldsters about what something really means. But everyone who has any sophistication about law knows that the Constitution trumps legislation and the question is the scope of constitutional rights. The nominees aren't asked to say — nor would they say — that they will interpret rights narrowly so that more legislation will survive or, conversely, that they will interpret rights expansively and nullify democratic decisionmaking. They're all asked to say and they all promise to say exactly what the rights really are and to enforce those rights despite pressure to allow the democratic choice to prevail and despite their own preferences about what ought to be legislated.
But the New York Times must, on schedule, wind up its readers about the conservatives on the Supreme Court. It's all such tedious sophistry.