In response to what Biden called “not a normal court” following high-profile cases, political scientists Aaron Belkin and Mark Tushnet of San Francisco State University and Harvard Law School wrote “An Open Letter to the Biden Administration on People’s Constitutionalism.”
“We urge President Biden to immediately restrain MAGA justices by announcing that if and when they issue rulings based on seriously flawed constitutional interpretations that undermine our most fundamental commitments, the administration will be guided by its own constitutional interpretations,” they wrote.
“We have lobbied diligently for the expansion of the Supreme Court as a key tactic to restore democracy over the past five years,” the letter continued. Despite our continued support for expansion, the threat posed by the MAGA judges requires immediate reforms without congressional approval. Advocates and experts should urge President Biden to act quickly to minimize the damage.
The courts “do not exercise exclusive authority over constitutional meaning”, according to Tushnet and Belkin, who cited a strategy known as “grassroots constitutionalism”. They speculated that Biden could provide an alternative constitutional interpretation and explain why Supreme Court rulings are “grossly flawed,” particularly if they do.
They claimed that at this particular historical juncture, “MAGA judges pose a grave threat to our most fundamental commitments because they consistently decide to undermine democracy and restrict fundamental rights, and because many of their decisions are based on misleading and false allegations.”
Jonathan Turley, a professor of law and legal authority at George Washington University, wrote an op-ed for The Hill on Saturday warning against this constitutional interpretation.
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“What is most striking about these professors is how they continue to position themselves as champions of democracy while trying to use their unchecked executive power to ignore the law and, in cases like tuition waivers and affirmative action, the vast majority of the public. They continue to be the privileged elite of academia, proclaiming that their values transcend democratic and constitutional processes, according to Turley.
They want Biden to declare himself the final arbiter of what the Constitution means and unilaterally exercise his executive authority without seeking congressional approval, he continued. It must assume the role of its own government.
Following Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court in 2018, Tushnet and Belkin participated in “Project 1.20.21,” a campaign against “Republican obstruction, theft, and abuse of process.” The project was primarily intended to increase the number of federal courts across the country and fill them with liberal judges.
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