The Supreme Court’s Declining Status
There is considerable irony in the declining approval ratings for the Supreme Court. As reported last week in the press, only 44 percent of Americans approve of the job the Court is doing, and 76 percent believe that the justices are influenced by their personal or political views. The irony lies in the failure of Justice Antonin Scalia to heed his own warning in the Cruzan “right to die” case.
In his concurring opinion rejecting a constitutional right to have life-sustaining medical treatment withdrawn, Scalia observed that the “Court need not, and has no authority to, inject itself into every field of human activity where irrationality and oppression may theoretically occur, and if it tries to do so it will destroy itself.” Yet by joining the majorities in Bush v. Gore and Citizens United, and tipping his hand at oral argument on the validity of the individual mandate to purchase health care, Scalia has only reinforced public skepticism of the Court’s role in resolving constitutional controversies.