President Obama may have "delayed" his promise for major immigration reform to accommodate the politics of the Nov. 4 midterm elections, but there remains an opportunity for massive improvement to the immigration "court" system. The reason that such measures can gain consensus support is the same reason that "court" must be in quotation marks.
A good deal of the growing lack of confidence in the Supreme Court these days is due precisely to the concern that the justices are increasingly voting in ways that reflect the political values and preferences of the presidents who appointed them. Americans, in other words, increasingly believe that the justices are voting as "Republicans and Democrats." If this is so, it is not because the justices are "repaying" the favor of their appointment, but because presidents have gotten better at selecting nominees whose judicial approaches are likely to lead them to vote in ways that more or less conform to the appointing president's own political values and preferences. But is any of this true? To test this possibility, I did a simple, back-of-the-envelope "study."
Walking home from the Capitol recently, I saw the words engraved above the portico of the Supreme Court: "Equal justice under law." They don't say "equal justice under law except for women." They don't say "equal justice as long as it's OK with your boss." And yet that is exactly what the court majority said in its ruling.