What is Your Role in Contributing to the Current Constitutional Crisis?

The robust protection of our constitutional rights depends on public perception that the Supreme Court is not a nakedly political institution.  Unfortunately, this perception is being tested.  Take this (satirical) quiz to find out how you are contributing to the demise of our Constitution.

  1. Which of the following best encapsulates your views about Roe v. Wade and Janus v. AFSCME?
    1. Roe is one of the most important and correctly decided cases in the judicial canon. Janus, the case which declared unconstitutional mandatory union dues to public sector unions, represents the Supreme Court’s manipulating the Constitution to invent a right and overturn democratic will because it liked the policy result.
    2. Abortion and unions are both evil.
    3. Mitch McConnell is the devil; F everything.
    4. Roe is precedent, despite its shaky legal foundation, and follows from substantive due process cases like Griswold.  Janus is at least tied to an enumerated right, and the Court has a long history of striking down economic legislation to uphold civil liberties like freedom of speech.  The Court is just doing its best to interpret the law, and we should stop acting like all the Court cares about is result.
    5. I haven’t been following Janus, but the Internet is filled with cute cat memes.
  1. Judge Brett Kavanaugh is President Trump’s latest nominee to the Supreme Court. What is your reaction?
    1. All of our rights are under attack. And by rights, I mean the outcomes that I think are best for America.
    2. USA USA USA USA.
    3. Oh great, another straight, white man, like Gorsuch, like the evil troll Mitch McConnell; F everything.
    4. Kavanaugh seems like a smart guy who will properly interpret the contours of the law and nothing else. Can we please stop politicizing judicial nominations?
    5. The Judge is a really good car pool Dad.
  1. What are your thoughts about Justice Kennedy’s retirement?
    1. Bleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep
    2. Hooray! Maybe we can finally get enough people on the Court to end affirmative action.
    3. Justice Kennedy was pretty conservative anyway; he was no friend to the left; F everything.
    4. Justice Kennedy, while rendering some decisions that had good results for society, had a jurisprudential methodology that made no sense and revolved around some nebulous concept of dignity. He basically treated himself like an autocrat king.  I trust Chief Justice Roberts more to restore legitimacy to the Court.
    5. Look, he’s old. He should be able to enjoy spending more time with his family.
  1. What is your favorite part of the Constitution?
    1. Fourteenth Amendment – It basically overwrote the rest of the document and says whatever I want it to.
    2. Second Amendment – Try to take away my guns.
    3. The Constitution was written by a bunch of white male property owners to benefit only their own kind; let’s just scrap it and F everything.
    4. First Amendment – so principled. It protects all speech no matter the viewpoint.
    5. Third Amendment — Just kidding; I don’t care.

Answers:

If you have:

Mostly 1s:  The Liberal Hypocrite.  You want the document to be interpreted expansively, but only when that means the Court reaches the result you like.  Basically, the Constitution says whatever you want it to say.  Legal reasoning is secondary, except you’re happy to criticize conservative Justices for voting politically.  Your blind spots and sense of certainty mean you don’t have many real principles of constitutional interpretation.  If everyone believed and acted as you did, the Constitution would be a completely malleable document, protecting nothing except the policy preferences of the nine people who sit on the Court.  You contribute to the polarization of the other side, which also then feels justified in ignoring the actual constitutional contours.

Mostly 2s:  The Right-Wing Partisan.  Let’s face it; all you really care about are fetuses and guns.  Sure, Roe v. Wade may have involved the Court’s stealing an issue from the voters, but you are going to allow that one issue to completely dominate both your political and judicial views.   All norms of rational and democratic decision-making are superseded by your distaste for abortions.  Mitch McConell is a hero for getting Justice Gorsuch onto the Court instead of the extremely smart and qualified, and quite moderate, Judge Merrick Garland.  You’ve turned judicial nominations, which were always an unfair political battleground, into an absolute partisan nightmare.

Mostly 3s:  The Radical.  You are fueled by anger and want to destroy the system.  Our entire constitutional history is a sham to you, and the present isn’t much better.  You are losing patience with rules and civility, and you would be happy to burn the entire Constitution to satisfy whatever outrage orgy you are currently experiencing.

Mostly 4s:  The Delusional.  Your naivete in pretending that Justices never care about result, only reasoning, would be cute, if you weren’t so willing to calmly watch all of our rights being eroded.  Wake up and smell the Bush v. Gore.  The Court has always been a political institution, to some degree, except now it’s getting unfairly stacked with only one side.  If you can’t see the problem, you can’t fix it.

Mostly 5s:  The Opiate of the Masses.  You probably haven’t read this far, because you were distracted by a picture of two dogs cuddling a stuffed dog. 

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