Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Compare and contrast. Mark Graber and Steve Benen on 'objectivity'.
Every now and then, a Supreme Court justice or Supreme Court justice wannabee writes a history of the Supreme Court. With a few variations, they are all the same. In the interest of saving Balkinization readers time and money, I present the following condensed version of those histories.

Chapter One: The framers were committed to [whatever theory of government holds broad popular support at this moment]

Chapter Two. Marbury was correctly decided by heroic justices who recognized that judicial review is necessary for democracy, constitutionalism, world peace and Santa Claus.

Chapter Three. Every other major Marshall Court decision was right.

Chapter Four. The Taney Court was pretty good, except Dred Scott. Everything is wrong about Dred Scott, including the penmanship.

Chapter Five. The Supreme Court did nothing anyone would ever be interested in between Dred Scott and the New Deal, except Holmes and Brandeis delivered a series of opinions demonstrating the constitutional commitment to [whatever theory of government holds popular support at this moment].

Chapter 6 The Hughes Court after 1937 acted both democratically and consistently with the framers' intent.

Chapter 7. Brown v. Board of Education demonstrates [my preferred theory of constitutional interpretation] is correct.

Chapter 8. Once we know why Brown was rightly decided, we also know why my votes on abortion, gay marriage, guns, the commerce clause and the most valuable player in the NFL are also right.

Or you can buy the book. Best advice; wait for the movie.

It's been one of the most glaring flaws in major American media for far too long -- news outlets can tell the public about a story, but they won't tell the public's who's right. Every story has to offer he-said/she-said coverage, and every view has to be treated as entirely legitimate. ("Republicans today said two plus two equals five; Democrats and mathematicians disagree.")

To tell news consumers about a controversy is fine. To tell news consumers who's objectively correct is to be "biased."

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