Short Take: Dowd Feeds The Frenzy

If it didn’t say Maureen Dowd up top, I would swear this was a column by the designated Millennial, Michelle Goldberg. It’s got that snarky tone. It’s shallow and assumptive. It conflates reason for feelings. But this is Dowd.

Ordinarily staid and silent Supreme Court justices have become whirling dervishes of late, spinning madly to rebut the idea that Americans are beginning to regard the court as a dangerous cabal of partisan hacks.

They need not fret and wring their hands. No one is beginning to think that.

Many of us have thought that for a long time.

Sick burn, Mo. And it’s true that Justice Alito and Coney Barrett have spoken out against the perception of the Supreme Court as being political hacks, which unsurprisingly didn’t work nearly as well as they hoped. But justices giving talks isn’t anything new. Justice Sotomayor did so as well, but Dowd didn’t find room to criticize her controversial public speech, which is fine but for the fact that her characterization of the ones she hates while pretending the one she likes never happened seems a bit disingenuous. But not nearly as disingenuous as what follows.

Supremes are often Shakespeare fans, so of course they are familiar with the phrase “doth protest too much, methinks.”

The once august court’s approval ratings on fairness were already falling two decades ago. The bloom came off the robe in 2000, when the court threw the game on Bush v. Gore, voting 5 to 4 to stop the Florida recount and anoint a Republican president.

The Supreme Court’s “approval ratings” have fallen. Then again, they’re still higher than Congress’ and journalists’, and the president’s approval rating hasn’t been doing great lately either. But I digress.

Dowd blames the Supreme Court for everything Shrub did that she hates, because Bush v. Gore. But had they come out the other way, and Ozone Gore gave us a lock box, the Supreme Court would have been groovy.

The right-wing justices may as well embrace their reputation for hackery. Because in this blockbuster year, when the conservative court begins debating abortion and the Second Amendment, one thing is certain: They are going to make rulings that will drive people crazy, rulings that will be out of sync with what most Americans believe.

So please, conservative cabal, don’t pretend you’re not doing this out of ideology.

Dowd is no doubt right that their rulings will drive people crazy, mostly because everything drives people crazy, as Dowd has learned from attending the meetings. But her ability to see into the future, to know with certainty that the rulings will be “out of sync” with what most Americans believe is impressive in an delusionally infantile sort of way, because isn’t the Supreme Court supposed to decide its cases on the basis of popularity? I don’t know what they will decide. You don’t either. But Dowd knows? Well of course she does, because of their “reputation for hackery.”

Ignore the charade of the parade of justices protesting that they are pure and neutral. Nobody’s buying it. We all know it’s a disaster if the country’s going one way and the court’s going the other.

The Least Dangerous Branch, as the court was once known, has become the Most Dangerous Branch.

None of this would be surprising, or even interesting if it came from the usual hysterics. But this is from Maureen Dowd, one of the few remaining grownups at the New York Times. And yet, she has some advice from one old to another.

And please, Justice Breyer, skedaddle. You’re playing a dangerous game. You need to get out of there because it looks as if the midterms are going to be bad, and if the Democrats lose the Senate majority, there’s no guarantee that Mitch McConnell will let any Biden nominee onto the court, even with two years left on the president’s term. Do you want the court to be 7 to 2?

Of course, Breyer also spoke publicly recently, like Alito and Barrett, and said in effect that he’ll retire when he’s damn good and ready. Weird that Dowd didn’t mention how he “doth protest too much, methinks.”

25 thoughts on “Short Take: Dowd Feeds The Frenzy

  1. Elpey P.

    It’s a comical reversal. “They’re partisan! With ideology! And why won’t they retire when our party wants them to, so we can add a partisan with the right ideology?”

      1. Guitardave

        It is a shame. I’ve at times enjoyed her style and wit in the past.

        TRA (tummy rub alert) “… as Dowd has learned from attending the meetings.” LMAO!

  2. Guitardave

    So I’m wondering, do you think we can get Judge Kopf to spin fast enough to get that robe to ‘bloom’ again?

  3. Hal

    “The bloom is off the robe” was kinda clever.

    Unfortunately, that’s the only part of what she wrote to which that apellation applies.

  4. Paleo

    If the policies Dowd wants and the court is out of touch with, obviously Democratic policies, are so overwhelmingly popular then how is it possible that the mid-terms are going to be bad?

    Like all of our thought leaders, Dowd has isolated herself in a bubble filled with like-minded people and has no clue what actual people think. Gives her and her bubble mates the idea that their preferred policies are a lot more popular than they actually are.

    1. SHG Post author

      What might not be recognized by folks like Dowd, et al., is that there remains a not-insignificant group of reasonable moderate people in America who do not feel an affinity for either tribe.

  5. David Meyer-Lindenberg

    As dopey and obvious as this article may be, and as much as she may suck as a demagogue, Ms. Dowd turns a great phrase. She’s like the anti-Bill Buckley. I wish I could write as well.

  6. DanJ1

    Breyer staying on for personal reasons disproves everything Dowd is saying. If he, like the other Supremes, was a partisan hack, he would step aside for the good of the Party.

    Sotomayor and Kagen are completely independent because they make judgements that Dowd agrees with and in her own mind she is completely non-partisan, but the others are partisan because they have a different perspective. It’s like all Trump voters are racist because…well…just because…Trump, you know.

  7. B. McLeod

    Lawfare was good when marriage needed to be redefined. Even though sensible people noted that taking one’s legislative program to the Court was a double-edged sword. It didn’t matter then, because sacred causes had to be advanced at any cost. Now that there are concrete illustrations of the point, the whole thing has become very tawdry and the Justices only cheap, political hacks.

  8. Jay

    Poorly written response to a perfectly appropriate attack on our partisan supreme court. As usual, you attack strawmen, prose, and try out the trumpist “oh yeah what about your side”argument. You are the epitome of sgt. Schulz shouting “i see nothing” as the judiciary eats itself. Not once have i seen you write an article on the Trump judges like Ho that openly mock the concept of non partisan judges. We are fucked. And you are a duped pied Piper leading your little group of readers into the fascist future that awaits us.

    1. SHG Post author

      I am shocked to learn that you agreed with her, Jay. Was it her strong reasoning or her masterful rhetoric. Or both. Shocked, I say.

    2. Sgt. Schultz

      As sweet as you are to think of what I would shout, I regret to inform you that you would be wrong. I would inform you that Ho isn’t on the Supreme Court, so has no place in this post no matter how much you hate him.

      Oh, and while you’re right about Ho, you still have shit for brains. I might even shout that.

      1. SHG Post author

        When I have reason to write about Ho, I’m confident that no amount of denigration will be sufficient to assuage Jay’s feelings of hatred.

        1. Guitardave

          I’m starting to feel a bit sad for the Jay bird. Hes so blind to his authoritarian follower projections. It must really suck to live in a world where the definition of friend means thinking in complete lockstep (or should I say goosestep?) with each other.
          There is no love for anyone who does not see the world thru the same shit-stained lens as he.

          It makes me feel thankful, that despite my being an uneducated dolt, I’ve discovered the joy of exchanging thoughts and opinions with sharp minds that do NOT think the same as I. Poor Jay can’t understand the joy that comes from understanding, or the love that one can feel for the friends that help you increase it.

          Hey, Jay….you’ve just increased my appreciation for all my friends here. Thank you.

  9. Davy

    I must admit I’m surprised at your reaction. This has been par for the course for decades with Dowd. She is the embodiment of the falling standards at the times. What exactly seperates her from the usual idiots like Goldberg? She wasn’t particularly kind, or honest, about ozone Gore.
    Also, are you Gertruding about Dowd?

    1. SHG Post author

      That she’s always been fairly left isn’t new. That this is pure propaganda designed to create an anticipatory attack on the Court’s legitimacy so that when the Court rules, the public will already be prepared to reject any ruling that doesn’t comport with woke expectations and make radical changes to fix what they are now being told in advance is broken.

  10. DaveL

    The bloom came off the robe in 2000, when the court threw the game on Bush v. Gore, voting 5 to 4 to stop the Florida recount

    I thought my memory might be defective, so I looked it up to check. The actual decision to stop the Florida recount was 7-2. The 5-4 decision was about whether to honor the Safe Harbor deadline or attempt a new recount under some new uniform statewide scheme.

  11. LongTimeLurker

    According to NYT reporter Adam Liptak (from Dowd’s Op-Ed):

    “the authority of the Supreme Court — it’s a little hard to know where it comes from. Sure, it’s in the Constitution, but they don’t have an army, they don’t have the power of the purse. It’s not entirely clear why we do what the Supreme Court tells us to do.”

    Quite interesting that NYT reporters (and columnists) are echoing Andrew Jackson, the 45th President’s favourite President, who is thought to have had similar thoughts following Marshall CJ’s decision in Worcester v Georgia

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