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Resilience Part 2 (or Thoughts on Sam Alito’s DGAF Justicehood)

 Member Newsletter
June 11, 2024 3:33 p.m.

I think a lot about resilience. It’s actually an underlying concern that forms a lot of my political opinions. Not about policy, though perhaps that too in some way, but politics in the sense of elections and how coalitions and individuals operate politically, how they sustain themselves. I thought about this when I heard these new recordings of Sam Alito, telling us in his own words what we’ve been learning in recent years from his actions. It was interesting to contrast Alito’s remarks with those from the parallel recordings of John Roberts. Roberts at least said the right things when pushed on these questions about polarization and the role of justices and the Court. I doubt the difference in the two responses is just about Roberts being more circumspect. While being part of the same corruption as Alito, he is at least concerned with public perceptions of the Court’s legitimacy and the historical reputation of the Court under his chief justiceship. He is concerned with the constraint of legitimacy, which is defined by public perceptions of the Court. It’s a low bar, but still a quite significant one.

The thing with Sam Alito is that he doesn’t give a fuck. He is a seventy-something Fox News watcher and religious fundamentalist who happens to find himself in a position of immense and almost incomparable power over all of American society and he’s going to take that power to the limit to advance his own political preferences. He’s not even going to go through the motions of pretending that’s not the case. You don’t like it? Well, tough shit. You should have thought of that in 2006. And he’s not the only one in this mode. Thomas is right there with him. The remaining four are functionally in the same place. They’re just more attuned to appearances and willing to pass up at least a few goodies in the interest of maintaining some patina of legitimacy and thus entrenching and confirming their illegitimate power.

So, resilience.

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