What's wrong with the courts is that progressives don't care about them.
This is a strikingly clear, informed, passionate statement of the current situation in the U.S. judicial system, and the inexplicable refusal of the left to play in the same league as the Republicans, much less the same game.
A must-listen in my opinion. And both hosts, Slate's Dahlia Lithwick and Culture of Truth (author of the Bobblespeak Translations), make excellent points.
The whole show is an hour, but a good place to start is 40:40, just after the break. Ms. Lithwick and CoT had been talking about Obama's health-care law (ACA) and the potential for a favorable SC ruling. They then moved to the calls for Kagan (from the right) and for Thomas and Scalia (from the left) to recuse themselves.
After the break, they picked up there, with the calls for ACA recusals. This launched a terrific discussion.
Click play and then pause to let the full piece load (it should take only a few seconds). Then click in the progress bar to move to the middle. Start listening at the 40:40 mark.
(Hint: Holding down the right and left arrow keys performs an excellent fast-forward and fast-rewind. Use them for navigation.)
A brief run-down:
■ At 40:40 — Will Kagan recuse? Will Thomas? This leads to a great discussion of "Is the court necessarily political?" (Don't miss Lithwick's nice writerly phrase "blinking like bunnies in the sun.")
■ At 44:30 — Even though the court has only to appear apolitical, those appearances are critical to the court's success.
■ At 45:30 — CoT: Here's why — loss of legitimacy; the court has no army and no purse (brilliant point, well made).
■ At 54:20 — The left has completely ignored the long 30-year project to take over the court system.
■ At 60:05 — The problem isn't just Citizens United; it's 30 years of right-wing decisions.
■ At 61:05 — Great summation by Lithwick. A taste:
Citizens United is just the icing on the cake. The cake itself is a serious of cases that have gone on for years, undetected, about limiting the ability of litigants to get a fair shake in the court ... using incredibly technical rules.The whole of this rant is not to miss.
■ At 65:10 — Lithwick on the right's "long war," not just on health care, but on reproductive rights, environmental protection, redistricting (see here), Arizona immigration, and so on.
■ At 67:20 — Lithwick: If you care at all about the courts and the 30-year right-wing takeover (my phrase), you have to care about who the next president is. (She said it; I'm just calling balls and strikes. And like it or not, this really is one of the args a thinking person must consider.)
Bottom line, same as the first sentence. While the Federalist Society Right, with its corp-first ideology, has been fighting a 30-year battle to pack the U.S. court system with cronies and fellow radicals (my phrase again), the left has been going on long champagne lunches, enjoying the fruits of our national postwar wealth, and assuming this will always be their daddy's USA. It won't.
Lithwick's point (and mine): Time for the left to step up. The game isn't over yet, but the day will come when it will be, and most of us have kids.