US Elections as a Referendum on the SCOTUS

I was listening to a very old early episode of the now sadly defunct Reasonable Doubts podcast, and an interview with Eddie Tabash. It was fascinating stuff – I have a lot of time for him.

One of the take-away points about the interview was the notion that, when voting in US elections for either the Democrats or the Republicans, what you are really voting for is nominations for the Supreme Court of the United States. Really, what politics is is a subset of morality just extended from the personal, normative moral arguments of individual ethics expanded to the societal level. As such, moral regulation is what defines what can be passed by a government and what, of their moral rules, can be challenged. SCOTUS is the arbitration of these rules. Whatever direction, morally, that you want a country to go in; whatever view of abortion, separation of church and states, and so on you have; whatever constitutional position you take, the SCOTUS is what will either provide you with your desires, or block you and the country from achieving them.

The Constitution itself is rather an interesting thing when considering SCOTUS. So many Americans, so many religious Americans, put the Constitution on some sacred pedestal. It is the be-all-and-end-all for their existence.

But the Constitution is worthless. I mean this by point of fact that it is entirely at the mercy of the SCOTUS: the document only has meaning in its legal interpretation and implementation. This, of course, is the job of the SCOTUS.

So, given that one of the most important jobs of the ruling party is to nominate judges for the SCOTUS, and given the entirely partisan approach they have to nominating Supreme Court judges, voting at elections can be simplified to voting for Supreme Court judge nominations.


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