Ronald Klain, an advisor to Joe Biden’s 2020 presidential campaign, has painted a disturbing picture of the left’s view on the powers and prerogatives of the United States Supreme Court. Mr. Klain hearkens to the heyday of judicial activism and suggests that the very definition of a “landmark” case is one which puts us on a “path to a better country.”
But the question is who gets to decide what our country should look like? On this question, Mr. Klain is clear: the nine unelected justices are supposed to “intervene whenever the nation’s conscience and laws need a jolt in a progressive direction.”
It’s hard to think of a more undemocratic statement. The Supreme Court can ignore the “laws” passed by Congress, and even worse, overturn the opinions of millions of Americans.
The good of a Supreme Court, according to Mr. Klain, is in being the agent of “progressive social change.” Such a role for the Court would have been unfathomable to our Founders—who referred to the Supreme Court as the “least dangerous branch.” This was true because the Court did not possess the power of the pen. Social change was to be initiated by We The People, through our representatives in Congress.
Inherent in Mr. Klain’s unabashed praise for an activist Court is the idea that the elites know best. The well-educated and high-positioned are better able to provide moral compass for our society than the everyday Americans who participate in self-government at the ballot box. If this prescription for oligarchy triumphs, we will have lost our most fundamental liberty: the right to govern ourselves.