Earlier this week, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. told law students in
Roberts was upset that the Justices had to “sit there expressionless” while the “members of [the elected legislature were] standing up, literally surrounding the Supreme Court, cheering and hollering.” Justice Alito’s furtive “not true” comment aside, perhaps the Chief Justice felt so disturbed because the court rarely has to confront the ire of those its decisions affect.
But Citizens United has served as a rallying cry. As Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) noted in a recent Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, people are “freaking out” because the Court’s conservative 5-4 majority is transforming the legal framework in
We applaud the President for reprimanding the court and giving voice to the frustration felt by so many Americans in the wake of Citizens United. Harry Reid also joined the fray on Wednesday criticizing the Court for being out of touch and engaging in “activism”, asking us to rethink who we put on the bench.
As we’ve said before, this decision should serve as a wake-up call to progressives who have allowed judicial nominations to sit on the back burner while conservatives pack the court, and to the administration, which has not treated judicial nominations as a top priority. President Obama should step up his commitment to nominating wise young judges who can change the jurisprudential conversation -- and progressives need look no further than Citizens United to see what happens if we don't pay attention to judicial selection and work to help confirm those nominees who will uphold our core constitutional values.