In Sunday’s paper, the Washington Post has an article with the title, “Fewer See Balance in Court Decisions.” The article is based on a poll conducted by the Post and ABC News. Its findings were that “about half the public thinks the Supreme Court is generally balanced in its opinions.” But since that isn’t the point the paper wants to make, it highlights the fact that the number of citizens who think the Court is “too conservative” has increased to 31%.
Both the writers of this article and the editors who put it in print have no clue why the Supreme Court exists. If it was merely a popularity contest, there would be no need for a Supreme Court. The Congress of the United States, especially the House which is in proportion to population, is always capable of expressing the will of a majority of citizens.
The entire reason that all federal courts exist, not just the Supreme Court, is to enforce the law and the Constitution especially, regardless of what majority opinion might be. Without that understanding, the Court’s decisions ending racial segregation in all schools would not have occurred. Nor, its decision that Jehovah’s Witnesses should not be expelled from schools for following their faith and refusing to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. Nor, its decision, left-handed and belated, that Japanese-Americans were justifiably imprisoned for their race alone, during World War II.
The article quotes a number of sources, people who do not care whether the Constitution is trashed, as long as their side in the particular issue somehow prevails. The President of People for the American Way is such an “expert.”
Much of the article expresses the attitudes of various segments of the population about the partial birth abortion decision of the Court. Again, this totally misses the point. It is no more relevant whether this decision is popular with various parts of the population, then whether the original decision on abortion was popular.
The Post ought to apologize to the public for printing an article which demonstrates such ignorance about why the Supreme Court was created by the Constitution and the lower federal courts were established by Congress. It won’t, but it should.