In it, but not of it. TPM DC

Erwin Chemerinsky, the founding Dean of UC-Irvine School of Law and a renowned legal scholar, has some scathing words for the Supreme Court: It "has frequently failed, throughout American history, at its most important tasks, at its most important moments."

This critique is contained in the progressive legal luminary's new book, provocatively titled "The Case Against The Supreme Court."

Chemerinsky tells TPM he wrote the book after realizing he had been "making excuses" for the Court over three decades of teaching it, and decided to make the case that it has often failed its duty to protect individual and minority rights against the passions of the majority.

His disenchantment is shared: The Court's popularity with Americans is near an all-time low of 44 percent, down from 60 percent in the early 2000s. Forty-eight percent now disapprove of it, according to a Gallup poll last week.

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Whole categories of political attacks proliferate every cycle that no one truly thinks matters, if they were honest with themselves. Not the political operatives who push them. Not the political reporters who cover them. Certainly not the candidates themselves. As for the voters, it's just white noise.

After a while, some of these attacks -- how many votes has so-and-so missed, for example -- start to seem like they're generated by some primitive computer programmed 40 years ago that no one bothered to unplug. Does anyone really care?

Every cycle has its own wrinkle on the theme: the political attack that everyone goes through the motions of treating half-seriously, even though no one anywhere gives half a damn.

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Everybody, even Republicans, seems to agree that Obamacare is not the electoral juggernaut it was supposed to be heading into the final weeks of the 2014 campaign. It still makes its obligatory appearances in stump speeches and debates, as well as some passing references in television ads, but the law has undoubtedly faded as other issues command the national debate.

But the last week suggests that Obamacare might still have a little life as a campaign issue in the Alaska Senate race -- meaning it could still play a role in swinging control of the Senate. The problem for incumbent Sen. Mark Begich (D-AK) is that while Republican doomsaying about skyrocketing 2015 premiums has been hugely overstated for the most part, Alaska is actually facing much higher premiums that make for easy attack ads. And big-money outside groups are seizing on it as they back Republican challenger Dan Sullivan.

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