Supreme Court decisions as more helping the "left" than the "right"
VOLOKH at law.ucla.edu
Wed Feb 17 09:43:49 PST 2010
I appreciate Eric's post, and his earlier one, which I read only after I sent my post. But I'm still not sure why we should think that Supreme Court decisions more help the "left" than the "right." The slavery debate is not easily seen in left-right terms, I think; many capitalist enthusiasts, for instance, were quite hostile to slavery, and many agrarian populists were supporters. The debates of 1850 are hard to map onto modern divides, it seems to me.
So that basically leaves the early 1900s, where the Court modestly constrained economic regulation, and the second half of the 1900s, where the Court greatly constrained abortion and pornography restrictions, substantially constrained various police powers, substantially constrained certain campaign finance speech restrictions and race-based affirmative action, and modestly constrained gun controls. It's hard for me to see why on balance this has helped what would be seen as the modern Right more than it has helped the modern Left.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Eric Segall [mailto:esegall at gsu.edu]
> Sent: Wednesday, February 17, 2010 9:40 AM
> To: Volokh, Eugene; 'conlawprof at lists.ucla.edu'
> Subject: RE: An anecdote about oaths/gettingback to original post
> I apologize to Nelson again for implying he agreed with Dred Scott or any other
> My point is this: Generally speaking, there seems to be a view that the Court more
> often than not helps the left. I think that view s is quite wrong as a matter of
> history and logic. The Court is much better at stopping change than creating it,
> thus better able to maintain the status quo than changing it, thus more likely to
> help those who want to freeze the status quo. I think, over time, that hurts
> Also, I'm a Hollow Hope kind of guy. When the Court tries to effectuate major
> change, it usually fails.
> This is a tough question. But the traditional view of the Court (in the post Warren
> Court era) that a strong Court helps the left and a weak one the right, is, in my
> opinion, quite inaccurate. That's all I was trying to say.
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