Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett, long-groomed for the role by conservative groups, picked by Donald Trump, then rammed into the chair by the GOP House Leader in the final days of Trump's administration, said in a lecture Sunday that she is concerned that the public may increasingly see the court as a partisan institution.
Barrett spoke at length about her desire for others to see the Supreme Court as nonpartisan. Barrett said the media's reporting of opinions doesn't capture the deliberative process in reaching those decisions. And she insisted that "judicial philosophies are not the same as political parties."
"To say the court's reasoning is flawed is different from saying the court is acting in a partisan manner," said Barrett, whose confirmation to the seat left open by the death of the liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg cemented conservative control of the court. "I think we need to evaluate what the court is doing on its own terms."
Barrett's comments followed a high-profile decision earlier this month in which the court by 5-4 vote declined to step in to stop a Texas law banning most abortions from going into effect, prompting outrage from abortion rights groups and President Joe Biden.
In all seriousness, Barrett is right inasfar as institutions are made of people and the Surpreme Court numbers nine, so individual beliefs, positions and foibles shape the institution rather than the other way around. She is not partisan so much as conservative, and offers no loyalty to the party. It is not partisanship that matters to her.
But it was partisan hackwork and hypocrisy that got her installed on the court, in the reasonable expectation that she would make rulings consistent with partisan political aims. In that respect, the court is partisan simply because justices are political appointees and American politics is overwhelmingly partisan. Everything they do has three essential outcomes: a win for one or the other side, or a perceived fudge that ends up analysed on partisan grounds.