A Possible Reprisal Of The 1930s: A Conservative Supreme Court And Progressive Congress And President

With the settlement finally of the Minnesota Senate seat controversy, the possibility of a filibuster proof Senate with 60 Democrats emerges, but at the same time, the end of the Supreme Court term this week also shows the emergence of a growing conservative dominance, led by Chief Justice John Roberts,  with the growing support of swing vote Anthony Kennedy.

So it looks as if in the coming years, we may have the old conflict that existed during the years of the New Deal under Franklin D. Roosevelt during the 1930s–a conservative Supreme Court and a progressive Congress and President. 

That only changed when Roosevelt was finally able to replace some of the members of the conservative controlled Court by retirements, after unsuccessfully trying to "pack the Court", an idea which helped to undermine a continuation of the New Deal.  There was great conflict during the height of the New Deal years, and that scenario seems more and more likely during the Obama years, with the difference being that Obama only has up to eight years, while FDR had more than 12 years to help reshape the Court. 

It is unlikely that there will be much transformation of the Court before Obama leaves office, as those most likely to leave–Ruth Bader Ginsberg and John Paul Stevens–are on the liberal end of the Court.  Barring natural events outside the control of anyone, it is unlikely that Anthony Kennedy or Antonin Scalia will be leaving the Court anytime soon.  At the same time, the comparative youth of John Roberts, Clarence Thomas, and Samuel Alito, make it unlikely that they will be leaving the Court for the next 12-20 years. 

So we may have a very interesting confrontation between a country moving, seemingly, to the left, but faced by a Supreme Court moving noticeably to the right ideologically.

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