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Readers Respond

In abortion ruling, court sides with politics over precedent | READER COMMENTARY

Noah Feldman’s commentary, “Ending Roe is institutional suicide for Supreme Court” (June 27, 2022), is right on the mark with the minor exceptions of a single sentence and a few omissions. When he writes, “The tyranny of the majority won the day,” he is apparently referring to the majority of the Supreme Court justices. However, their views do not reflect the majority views of this country.

The Supreme Court, despite the protestations of some of its current members, is and has always been a political institution. As the American journalist and humorist Peter Finley Dunne observed in 1901 through fictional bartender Martin J. Dooley, “the Supreme Court follows the election returns.” In this case, the majority of the court ignored the most recent election returns and instead hearkened back to the 2016 election returns, as three appointees of disgraced former President Donald Trump voted in contradiction of their sworn Senate confirmation testimony, but consistent with the political reason they were nominated.

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What is omitted from the op-ed are the serious questions about the legitimacy of the court as presently constituted. Justice Clarence Thomas votes on issues that his wife has a direct and active interest in, conduct that would not be tolerated in a federal district judge. Justice Neil Gorsuch is only on the court due to the cynical hypocrisy of then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and the spineless, bootlicking Republican senators he fronts for. So, too, Amy Coney Barrett, whose rushed confirmation gave the lie to Mr. McConnell’s dishonest rationale for denying a confirmation vote to Merrick Garland.

The Supreme Court’s cavalier disregard for precedent will simply encourage a similar disregard when the court becomes differently constituted, as it invariably will at some point. This would be a concern to true justices, but not to those beholden to a political agenda.

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— Michael Schatzow, Baltimore

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