Since the moment Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed, the American left has been in panic over the makeup of the court.
When President Donald Trump nominated Judge Amy Coney Barrett to fill the vacancy left after Ginsburg’s death, the cries became more shrill.
Now that the Senate has confirmed Barrett to the high court and she is firmly ensconced on the bench, the left has increased their threats to pack the court by any means — including nuking the filibuster in the Senate — and find whatever ways they can to rein in a conservative court.
The New York Times even ran a special feature on “How to Fix the Supreme Court.” It included creating a new court, term limits for justices, preventing the court from choosing its cases, increasing the threats to pack the court, actually packing the courts, and expanding the lower courts.
But one famous liberal writer is pretty sure he knows exactly who needs to come to the rescue: Chief Justice John Roberts.
The Washington Post’s Dana Milbank’s column Monday night declared, “It’s up to John Roberts to save his court.”
What did Milbank say?
After recounting and lamenting what he called the “pell-mell scramble” to get Barrett on the court, the liberal Milbank said Barrett’s confirmation “shreds whatever remained of the high court’s integrity and independence” — even though Barrett has yet to hear, much less rule on, a single case.
No matter, though, for Milbank. Only Roberts can save the U.S. now.
So, how should he do it? Milbank has ideas:
● Play the heavy.
He can lean heavily on Barrett to recuse herself from any case arising from the presidential election next week.
● Save Obamacare like he did before.
He can use his influence to make sure the court upholds the Affordable Care Act after it hears arguments next month — not a legalistic punt on technical matters of “severability” but a ruling that puts an end to the constant assaults on Obamacare.
● Reject religious freedom when it clashes with Obergefell.
He can persuade his conservative colleagues to join him in upholding the rights of LGBTQ Americans as established in the 2015 Obergefell case, by rejecting a challenge to it by Catholic Social Services that will be argued the morning after the election next week.
● Make Trump hand over his financial records.
He can forge a majority to reject Trump’s latest tired attempt to use the Supreme Court to further delay handing over his financial records to New York prosecutors.
● Uphold Roe at any cost.
And he and his colleagues can agree to hear one of the many challenges to Roe v. Wade now making their way through lower courts — and vote to uphold Roe for now. That would be the surest sign that the Roberts Court is not going to turn (immediately at least) into the reactionary caricature that most expect.
If Roberts can’t get the conservatives on the court to back the Milbank agenda, then, according to the writer, “they can count on being joined next year by a whole batch of new colleagues” nominated by President Joe Biden.