Share this on Facebook
download .zip with all pictures
>”…others see the status quo as just fine and resent the Supreme Court for legislating from behind the bench”
The Supreme Court doesn’t have legislative initiative. The only way they can engage in judicial review is if a case is so significant and flawed that it slowly climbs its way up through court after court after court. Even then, only a few are considered each year. Hundreds more sit on a pile- sometimes specifically because the Supreme Court wants to avoid the image of legislating from behind the bench and wants to give the legislature one more go at saving them the trouble. And that pile is getting bigger.
edit: Also the only way a case will climb that high is if a) a firm works for you pro bono (unlikely) or b) a very wealthy interest group is backing you. The fact that so many cases are sitting up at the top shelf tells me that the system is flawed.
>The American system of government considers both of these points of view to be equally legitimate, and equally deserving of representation.
Not since the early 20th century. There has been a fundamental shift towards central democracy and away from state power. Before the 17th Amendment was passed, state governments appointed/elected their own senators- the people of those states had no direct say in the matter.
Also look to the incorporation of many provisions of the bill of rights since the early 20th century. Prior to incorporation, many protections we now take for granted (i.e. guarantee of freedom of speech, religion and press) weren’t incorporated against the states. If a state wanted to deny you those liberties, they could.
Furthermore the whole incorporation business began because the southern states were so reluctant during Reconstruction. The modern states rights movements have their origins in this era, when southerners would go to every length to mitigate progress. This is why we had a brief period of black intellectuals and professionals after the civil war, only to be followed by decades of Jim Crow oppression. Yes, some good things did come out of it- like Posse Comitatus, but overall it left a legacy of agony.
edit: Also sometimes the congress has surrendered their responsibilities of compromise and consensus altogether. For instance, while they are constitutionally the sole body able to declare war, every major American war since WWII has been an executive action that was rubber-stamped into a real war by congress. And very very rarely has congress ever threatened to stop an executive war by cutting the defense budget.
>When society as a whole is ready for change, they will tell their legislator or vote in new ones who agree with them, and the legislature will pass laws respecting that change.
That’s a very trusting view of the system. Legislators spend most of their time fundraising and listening to insider lobbyists for a reason. I argue that more realistically, the great majority of legislators are most concerned with satisfying their financiers, while trying to hold on to a veneer of credibility to their constituents.
And this is also assuming that legislators cater to society as a whole. Let’s face facts: young people don’t vote, the poor don’t vote, racial minorities don’t vote and immigrants don’t vote. Well, I should say: Those groups don’t vote nearly as much as the entrenched, rich and the elderly. Say some young people want to reform social security by raising the retirement age so that the program doesn’t collapse by the time they’re elderly. Now a handful of young people might be able to fund a very very small political action committee, with no insiders, but they could never compete with the AARP.
>Just because they have fewer people doesn’t mean those people aren’t deserving of representation.
It also doesn’t mean that they deserve disproportionately large representation in the Senate.