I really like learning about US government and history — I’m a little obsessed about it sometimes, really. For all the problems, I have incredible admiration for the broad and varied group of people who contributed to the founding and the creation and the running of our country. I have some issues with our current executive branch, of course, and our overactive executive throughout (at least) the 20th century. But I’m interested in the Supreme Court, and how tricky it’s been through history to predict how appointing a justice for life will change how they view the world and make decisions.
But this new book by Toobin is worrying — because it really brings into relief how much we’ve moved into a world where we’re appointing justices because of what they think on specific issues, not how they make decisions, or how they show their character. That’s not a new revelation, but reading this book makes me worry more than ever.
Having said that, our government has gone through tough trials even since before the Constitution, and, notably, in times of extreme stress from outside and inside both. And we’ve managed to muddle our way through. Even now, I’m optimistic, given the signs from this primary season, that we can move back to a time of cooperation and move forward to a time of post-partisanship.